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Posted on in Divorce

Naperville Divorce AttorneysWhen someone says their divorce is complex, you might envision the emotional entanglements of love lost, which can make agreements more difficult to achieve. Each divorce is complicated in its own way, but some marriage dissolutions end up more involved than anticipated, or necessary.

What factors influence whether your divorce is short and amicable or drawn-out and ugly?

Disagreements Over Separate and Marital Property

In Illinois, property division includes the determination of what is “marital property” and “separate property.” That is, the debts and assets acquired before the marriage and what occurred after the vows. During a divorce, separate property returns to the original owner, and marital property and joint debts are divided equally between the parties. Exceptions to the rule include inheritances or gifts given solely to one spouse during the union, which are typically counted as separate property. Contention sometimes arises from the determination of which assets fall into the marital property category.

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DuPage County Family Law Attorneys

When a judge creates a child support order, the payments must arrive every month until the child reaches adulthood or is emancipated, adopted by a stepparent, or joins the U.S. military. 

Life circumstances often change. People gain and lose employment, marry, and divorce, and health fluctuates up and down, all of which can have a significant impact on the financial well-being of a household. For many divorced parents, it is likely that at some point during the duration of child support payments, the order may require child support modification.

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Naperville divorce attorneysWhen a couple is getting divorced, any retirement assets they may have are among the most critical assets to divide appropriately. Instruments like 401(k) accounts and pensions must be divided between the spouses, because most spouses will not have planned for retirement without at least some of those funds being present. However, unlike many other assets, it is not generally possible to simply split the proceeds of a retirement account down the middle. There is a specific procedure that must be followed under Illinois law to ensure that the asset is divided equitably.

Determining a Pension’s Value

Two factors go into determining the value of a pension for purposes of marital property division. The first is whether or not the pension is, in fact, marital property. Generally, the value of the pension that accrued during the marriage is considered marital property, and the value that was there beforehand is not. Some judges may hold that these funds have commingled, but such a determination is dependent upon the facts of your particular case.

The second factor involves assessing what type of plan it is. Some pensions are called defined contribution, with a specific amount taken out of one’s check each pay period, while some are defined benefit, which is fairly self-explanatory. Defined contribution plans are fairly easy to value if one has statements at hand because the amount contributed is consistent and clear. Defined benefit plans, by comparison, are more difficult and usually require specific expertise from a financial professional before a number can be determined.

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