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Plainfield divorce QDRO attorneyWhen dividing property during divorce, issues involving assets such as retirement plans or pensions can be difficult to resolve. In many cases, it is necessary to use a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) to distribute the funds in these accounts or plans. According to the IRS, a QDRO is a “judgment, decree or order for a retirement plan to pay child support, alimony or marital property rights to a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of a participant.”

Why Is a QDRO needed?

In many cases, retirement plans or pensions may be some of the most valuable assets owned by married spouses. Therefore, when it comes time to divide marital property, the funds in these accounts or the payments from pension plans may need to be split between spouses. While a divorce decree may state that a former spouse should be awarded part of the other's retirement fund, it is not official unless there is a QDRO in place. In addition, a QDRO allows funds to be withdrawn and distributed from a retirement account (such as a 401(k) or IRA) without incurring taxes or penalties. In order to obtain a QDRO, you should contact an experienced attorney who can help you determine the documents needed in order to ensure that funds are distributed fairly.

When Should a QDRO Be Filed?

Although a QDRO can be filed after a divorce has been finalized, it is better if it is filed prior to the divorce decree being issued. Otherwise, if the plan participant retires, and payments are distributed, the QDRO will only pertain to future payments, which means money lost by the other party. Another possibility is that if the plan participant remarries, the next spouse could file their own QDRO and, again, the first divorcing party may be shorted funds. Therefore, in order to ensure the highest benefits possible, the recipient will need to get the QDRO filed as soon as possible, and it is best to do so early on in the divorce process.

Finding Hidden Assets

In some cases, a spouse may try to hide his or her retirement assets or avoid disclosing the balance of accounts. Therefore, it will be helpful to contact the provider of the plan directly. An experienced attorney can assist you in finding the needed information and ensuring that the correct monetary amounts are properly divided during divorce.

Contact a Joliet QDRO Attorney to Ensure You Are Getting Your Fair Share

QDROs, divorce decrees, and retirement plans can all be confusing. At Tedone & Morton, P.C., we can help ease your stress during the divorce process. Our experienced Plainfield divorce attorneys can sort through the numbers and paperwork for you and ensure that your marital assets are divided properly. Call 815-733-5350 to set up a free consultation today.


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family-businessWhen two people get married, they do not anticipate a divorce. Similarly, business partners do not embark on a business venture with the belief that it will fail. When spouses become business partners and go through a divorce, finances can become very complicated.

Illinois Property Division Law

Under the Illinois property division law, there is tangible and intangible property. Real estate is an example of tangible property while retirement funds, stocks, and business equity are considered intangible property. Both tangible and intangible property is viewed as either separate property or marital property. Anything that each spouse acquired before marriage is classified as separate property. Marital property, however, includes income, assets, debt, equity, and anything else a couple acquired during their marriage. It is important to understand that even if an asset is in one spouse's name, it is considered marital property because it was acquired when the couple was married and could benefit both individuals.

Business Valuation in Illinois

If one spouse received equity in a business while they were married, the other would still be entitled to a share of the business. In the event the spouses were business partners, determining who deserves the business as well as all the income, assets, and debts associated with it becomes tricky. Fortunately, many couples have buy-out clauses in their business documents or prenuptial agreements that make this decision far easier. If a couple does not have any of these in place, shareholders may allow one spouse to buy out the other. However, this is only a viable solution if one spouse is willing to leave the business.

If both spouses would like to continue to be involved in the business, the future and survival of the business will dictate what happens. Sometimes, ex-spouse will decide that their business is their top priority and will continue to manage it together.

To make the right decision for yourself and your business, you should get a business valuation that provides information regarding:
  • What your business is currently worth;
  • How much your business will earn in the future;
  • Debt realization;
  • Inventory; and
  • The financial interest in the business of each spouse.

Contact Our Plainfield Divorce Lawyers

We understand how difficult it can be to end a marriage and potentially lose a business. If you and your soon to be ex-spouse are business partners, it is essential that you reach out to our experienced Plainfield divorce lawyers at 815-666-1285 for a consultation.


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hidden-assetsWhen the process of divorce begins, many people will attempt to hold on to what they consider their own money. Believe it or not, some even have bank accounts and engage in financial activities that their spouse is not aware of. If you would like to ensure you receive a fair divorce settlement, it is essential to expose any hidden assets. Here are some tips on where to look for hidden assets during a divorce.

Tax Returns

Since hiding income from the IRS can lead to serious penalties such as hefty fines and even prison, most people do not hide their income. If possible, closely examine tax returns from the past five years to search for any income inconsistencies, trusts, or real estate holdings.

Checking Account Statements and Canceled Checks

If there is a canceled check for a purchase you were unaware of, there will be a significant difference in the total assets divided. If possible, obtain copies of all financial accounts and keep a close eye on checking account statements and canceled checks.

Savings Accounts

Take a close look at any savings accounts and determine whether there are any unusual deposits or withdrawals. They may mean your spouse is hiding an asset such a dividend.

The Courthouse

If your soon to be ex-spouse borrowed money from a mortgage company or bank, you can receive a copy of their loan application from the courthouse. Their loan application will reveal all of their assets and estimated values and can give you a clear idea of what they are worth.

The County Auditor

The county auditor will have information related to any money that your soon to be ex may have taken from savings accounts and used to purchase real estate. You will be able to easily find any homes or land they own as well as the address and taxable value of each.

Lifestyle Analysis

Consider the lifestyle of your soon to be ex-partner. Does their income match the type of clothing they wear, the car they drive, and activities they participate in? If you believe their lifestyle is more lavish than their reported income could support, they may be hiding assets from you.

Contact Our Plainfield Divorce Lawyers

Although our Plainfield divorce lawyers can help you search for hidden assets, you should take a proactive role in looking for them. To ensure your rights are protected during your divorce case, we encourage you to contact our highly skilled Plainfield divorce lawyers at 815-666-1285 for a consultation.


Joliet divorce lawyersNo one can dispute the emotional nature of a divorce but it is crucial that parties do not allow their emotions to overshadow the financial aspects of their case. Otherwise, they may run the risk of extreme financial loss. Learn more about how you can mitigate this issue with careful financial planning and the assistance of an attorney.

Star Planning Sooner, Rather Than Later

While it is possible to handle divorce matters over a short time-period, those who plan early tend to have better outcomes because they are more prepared for the process. Some manage to save money. Others seek help from a financial advisor to obtain advice on where and how to spend or invest their settlement or to gain a better understanding of their own finances and how to manage them. Regardless of how you prepare, do it sooner, rather than later.

Avoid Making Hasty Decisions

It can be easy to say “yes” to everything your spouse wants – especially if the request is within reason and agreeing makes the process easier. Sadly, though, doing this can place you at a serious risk for extreme financial loss once the divorce is over. Consider the following example: During negotiations, your spouse offers up the house in exchange for the full amount of their 401K. Because you wanted the house from the beginning, this seems like a reasonable offer, so you accept. Then, once the divorce is over, you realize that you do not have the resources to cover the expenses (i.e. mortgage, insurance, repairs, maintenance, etc.). You are now left with few options – and it is unlikely that any of them will work out in your favor.

Keep Emotions Out of the Equation

It is not easy to separate the emotional and financial aspects of a divorce, but doing so can be crucial to the outcome of your case. That is because emotions may cloud your judgment or cause you to act irrationally. It can also give your spouse ammunition in the divorce, which may be dangerous if you are divorcing an abusive, narcissistic, or otherwise manipulative individual. So, do yourself a favor: seek support from family, friends, and therapeutic resources to keep yourself more emotionally grounded during divorce negotiations.

Contact Our Joliet Divorce Lawyers

If you are planning on filing for divorce, contact Tedone & Morton, P.C. for assistance. Our seasoned Joliet divorce lawyers can protect your rights and assist you in successfully navigating through the divorce process. At every turn, we protect your rights and best interests. Call 815-666-1285 to schedule your personalized, no-obligation consultation today.


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equitable distribution, Joliet divorce lawyersFor most couples, the decision to pursue a divorce is not one that is made overnight. In fact, the vast majority of such decisions are the product of months or years of soul-searching and, in certain cases, waiting for the right time. If you are thinking about ending your marriage, for whatever reasons you may have, you are probably starting to realize that divorce is not as simple as a high school or college break-up. Rather, it is complicated undertaking that requires careful consideration regarding a wide variety of subjects. Among the most difficult of these concerns is often the division of marital property, as many people are unfamiliar with the laws that govern the process.

Common Misconceptions

Thanks to modern entertainment media, the general public tends to believe that, in a divorce, each spouse is entitled to half of the marital estate regardless of their situation. The only exception to this “rule,” in many minds, is if the couple had a valid prenuptial agreement that made different arrangements. While a 50/50 split may seem logical in some cases, Illinois law does not make any guarantees regarding an equal allocation of marital property.

Equitable Distribution

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) essentially governs the entire divorce process, including the distribution of marital property. According to the IMDMA, when divorcing spouses cannot reach a voluntary agreement regarding asset division, the court “shall divide the marital property without regard to marital misconduct in just proportions considering all relevant factors.” This concept is known as equitable distribution, which focuses on a fair outcome, not necessarily an equal one.

Relevant Factors

In dividing the marital estate, the court must look at all of the circumstances surrounding the marriage and pending divorce. The IMDMA requires the court to specifically consider certain factors, including:

  • Each spouse's contribution to the marital estate, including the efforts of a stay-at-home spouse or parent;
  • Any marital assets dissipated (wasted) by either spouse;
  • The value of allocated property;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The way in which the allocation of property will affect the post-divorce life of each spouse;
  • The age, health, employability, and resources of each spouse;
  • Provisions being made for the spouses' children;
  • Provisions being made for spousal maintenance or if additional property should be awarded instead; and
  • Any valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

The statutory list is not intended to be all-inclusive, and the court may take into account any other factors deemed to be equitable.

Get the Help You Need

If you are thinking about divorce, it is important to work with a legal professional with the knowledge and skill to guide you through the complicated process. Contact an experienced Will County divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. today. We will meet with you to discuss your needs and help you take the steps necessary to secure a happier tomorrow. Call 815-666-1285 or 815-733-5350 to schedule an appointment.


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