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DuPage County divorce attorney dissipation of assets

Property division is often one of the most consequential aspects of divorce – especially for high-net-worth individuals. Some divorcing spouses reduce the value of the marital estate through excessive or careless spending or even intentionally destroying assets. This is referred to as the “dissipation of assets.” When a spouse spends money or property on a purpose not related to the marriage immediately prior to divorce, the other spouse may be entitled to compensation for the dissipated assets. Through a dissipation claim, you may be able to recover the value of assets your soon-to-be ex-spouse spent on extravagant vacations, gifts, or other unnecessary purchases.

Illinois Law Regarding Dissipation of Assets

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) contains a provision defining dissipation and addressing how wasted or destroyed assets should be handled in a divorce. Dissipative spending is excessive spending that does not benefit the marriage in any way. So, spending money on groceries, home repairs, or other necessary, reasonable expenses would not qualify as dissipation. Examples of dissipation may include:

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DuPage County family law attorneysLegally, it does not matter which spouse files for divorce in Illinois. The spouse that files for divorce is called the petitioner (or plaintiff), and the other is the defendant (or respondent.) Technically, this terminology has no impact on the outcome of a divorce. However, which spouse files for divorce can have subtle, largely subjective effects on the divorce proceedings, a few examples of which we will offer in this post. If your spouse filed for divorce or you plan to, do not hesitate to speak with a divorce attorney so that you can be better prepared to pursue a fair and sustainable outcome.

Why the Timing of Divorce Filing Could Matter

Before understanding the psychological consequences of filing for divorce, it is worth understanding how the time when a petitioner files can affect the divorce process. First, the court will most likely use the date of filing to determine the value of a couple’s assets that must be divided. If you wait too long to file, your spouse can dissipate your marital assets to try to prevent you from getting your fair share. It is possible to recover dissipated assets, but doing so is not always easy.

Also, the Illinois spousal maintenance formula uses the time of filing to calculate the duration of payments. A court will multiply the length of a marriage by other variables to determine the length of maintenance awards. Therefore, if you wait longer to file, the spouse responsible for paying alimony will have to do so for longer. Depending on which end of the relationship you are on, this may or may not benefit you.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysEvery state has different requirements for divorcing couples. Illinois is unique in that a court may require a divorcing couple to attend parenting education classes before finalizing their divorce. This recent legislation is designed to prioritize a child’s well-being as they transition into a divorced family. If you are going through a divorce and have children, you should assume that you will be required to attend these classes and prepare accordingly. Sometimes, parents go into separation with vastly different ideas of what is best for their child, so attend your sessions with an open mind and take the necessary compromises to protect your child’s future as much as you can.

Illinois Parenting Education Classes

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 924, the Parenting Education Requirement, states:

“Each circuit or county shall create or approve a parenting education program consisting of at least four hours covering the subjects of parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities and their impact on children.”

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DuPage County divorce lawyerOver the past four decades, divorce rates around the world have more than doubled. If you are going through a divorce, this can be a comforting statistic: millions of people are experiencing the same struggles as you. The rise in divorce rates, despite the negative emotions it typically entails, has some positive outlooks as well. Higher divorce rates mean more people are escaping abusive relationships, more people believe they can find love again, and more people are pursuing the life that they want to live.

Cheng-Tong Lir Wang and Evan Schofer, two University of California at Irvine sociologists, compiled nearly four decades of divorce data from all around the world. Their goal was not merely to examine changes in divorce rates over time, but to try to understand what societal factors might cause divorce rate growth. Between 1970 and 2008, they discovered that the global divorce rate rose from 2.6 divorces for every 1,000 married people to 5.5 - the rate more than doubled. After analyzing the data, they found a few commonalities.

Social Causes for Increased Divorce Rates

The University of California study’s results suggested that the following societal attributes lead to greater divorce rates:

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Oak Brook divorce lawyerThe division of assets is a central component of divorce. Before you can make a settlement with your spouse, both of you and your attorneys will have to go through the discovery process. Discovery is a pre-trial stage of a divorce where both parties investigate and request evidence from the other party, including financial records. A married couple’s finances can get complicated, and couples are frequently unaware of the scope of their partner’s assets. To reach a fair conclusion, no financial information should be withheld from either party. Attorneys rely on several strategies to unveil the information they need to make adequate demands for their clients. We will detail some of the most commonly requested discovery tactics below. As you are preparing for a divorce, ensure that you have the help of an experienced and dedicated divorce attorney who will leave no stone unturned during the discovery process.

Common Discovery Tactics

During discovery, attorneys rely on the following to get the information they need before trial:

  • Deposition: A deposition is an attorney’s chance to ask your spouse or a relevant third-party witness for information. Witnesses take an oath before answering an attorney’s questions. If your spouse or any other witness tries to conceal information or lie in court, your attorney can use the written or taped testimony obtained during a deposition to impeach that witness. There are two types of depositions used in Illinois divorces, discovery deposition, and trial deposition. In discovery deposition, an attorney asks a witness a series of questions to reveal as much information as possible. However, attorneys only use discovery deposition to disclose some information and test how a witness will testify in court. In a trial deposition, attorneys approach their line of reasoning as they would in a trial and use evidence or other witness’ testimony to exhaust their line of questioning.
  • Requests to Produce Documents: Attorneys can submit a request to produce documents that will require the other party to offer the requested documents within 28 days.
  • Subpoena Duces Tecum: If your attorney suspects that your spouse and his or her attorney are withholding information, he or she can direct a subpoena to a third party, requiring them to produce the information you need, such as a bank or lender.
  • Written Interrogatories: Your attorney prepares written questions regarding your case that responding parties must answer within 28 days.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

It is imperative that you prepare for your divorce proceedings with the assistance of experienced legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. An accomplished Naperville, IL divorce lawyer who will aggressively fight for your fair share of assets during a divorce. Schedule a free consultation with Pesce Law Group, P.C., by calling us today at 630-352-2240. 

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