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Joliet, IL divorce attorney division of assets

Although you can make many settlements in a divorce decree such as child support, alimony, and custody, a settlement on the division of assets that includes retirement accounts does not guarantee that the spouse without a retirement account of his or her own will get the payments that he or she is owed. If your spouse was the primary breadwinner and you are trying to ensure that you receive payments from his or her retirement account, you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO, pronounced “quad row”) to make their employer pay you what you are owed. 

Understanding a QDRO

Even if your divorce agreement provides you with a particular portion of your spouse's retirement funds, you may experience some setbacks without a QDRO. For instance, withdrawing funds from a spouse’s retirement account without the protection of a QDRO could result in penalties. You should plan to draft a QDRO in most cases, but if your spouse’s retirement account is not IRS tax-qualified and covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a QDRO is not applicable. Military and government pensions are not IRS tax-qualified, so a QDRO will serve you no purpose in that case. 

How Do I Get a QDRO in Illinois?

Part of why a QDRO can help guarantee that a retirement plan provider complies with your marital separation agreement is that the retirement plan’s plan administrator will be involved during the drafting process. In many instances, your spouse’s retirement plan provider will have standard QDRO forms. If the provisions you need to state are highly detailed and your stakes in your spouse’s retirement plan are significant, you may want to create a QDRO of your own. In either case, working with a skilled divorce attorney will help protect your rights to your fair share.

If your spouse has a defined contribution plan like a 401k, it will be relatively simple for your attorney to determine how those assets should be divided. Pensions and other defined benefit plans are difficult to divide because your attorney will probably need to discover your share of the assets with an actuary’s help. 

Note that retirement assets are treated like other assets: There will be a distinction between marital and non-marital assets. For example, the funds with which your spouse entered your marriage may be considered non-marital property, and they may not be subject to division. 

The timing, frequency, and quantity of your payments will depend on your spouse’s retirement plan’s nature. Either the plan provider or your attorney can help you make sense of the details in your case.

Contact a Plainfield, IL Asset Division Lawyer

Dividing assets during divorce can be complicated depending on the amount of savings and the type of plan. Still, you can better understand how your and your spouse’s retirement assets will be distributed with the help of a Will County divorce attorney. At the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., we pride ourselves on the years of experience we have in helping our clients fight for their fair share of the marital assets during a divorce. To learn more about how we can help you, call our Joliet office at 815-666-1285 or our Plainfield office at 815-733-5350 to schedule your free consultation.



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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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