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naperville divorce lawyerWhen a couple has decided to divorce, part of that process involves dividing their assets and debts in an equitable manner. As you go through and list the assets you and your spouse have, one asset that you may overlook are any retirement accounts either of you may have. Illinois recognizes retirement funds accumulated during the marriage as marital assets, so they become part of the marital estate and are divisible in the divorce.

Dividing Retirement Accounts

The division of retirement accounts can be complex because of the federal and state laws and regulations that may apply. There is also the issue of ownership of the funds that are in the account. Any funds that were accumulated in a retirement account prior to the couples marriage is considered separate property and does not become part of the divorce settlement. It is only the funds that accumulated while the couple were married that are distributable. This is why it is important to have a skilled Naperville divorce attorney representing you, to ensure your best interests are protected.

Ideally, the spouses will agree to offset assets and the retirement account will maintain intact. For example, one spouse may agree to take sole ownership of a vacation property the couple owns that has the same value of the other spouse’s retirement account. If both spouses have retirement accounts, then another option is that they agree that they will each keep their own accounts separate from the marital estate and any divorce settlement.

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Oak Brook asset dissipation attorneyThanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping is more popular than ever. Shoppers can purchase thousands of dollars of new items with a just few clicks - all from the comfort of their own home. Unfortunately, online shopping can sometimes develop into a full-blown addiction. Studies show that approximately 5-8 percent of Americans suffer from compulsive shopping or shopping addiction. If your spouse is a compulsive shopper, it is essential that you take steps to protect yourself and your finances during divorce.

Shopping Addiction Can Lead to Severe Financial Consequences

When most people hear the terms “addiction” or “addict,” they think of substance abuse or alcoholism. However, shopping addiction is a very real phenomenon that can have devastating implications. Individuals struggling with shopping addiction or compulsive buying disorder often recognize that they are spending much more than they can afford, but they are unable to stop the behavior. They may max out credit cards, sell items of great financial or sentimental value, or even resort to shoplifting to fulfill the compulsion. The financial and personal consequences of shopping addiction can be dramatic.

How to Protect yourself When Divorcing a Compulsive Shopper

Because divorce is quite stressful, and compulsive shoppers often cope with stress by shopping, it is possible that this behavior will escalate. Whether your spouse suffers from compulsive shopping or simply makes unwise financial decisions, protecting your finances during your divorce is crucial.

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Elmhurst divorce attorney for business asset divisionOwning your own business can be a rewarding career choice. However, being a business owner can significantly complicate the division of assets during divorce. If you or your spouse own a business, and you want to end your marriage, it is essential that you understand how business ownership is dealt with in an Illinois divorce. An attorney experienced in handling complex divorce cases can provide personalized guidance about your rights and responsibilities regarding business ownership.

Is the Business Considered Marital Property or Non-Marital Property?

When a couple marries, their property and debt usually becomes intermixed. Determining which assets and liabilities belong to the marital estate and which are owned by an individual spouse is often quite complicated. As a general rule, property, including businesses, acquired before the marriage are classified as non-marital property. The spouse who originally owned the asset retains the rights to that asset during divorce. Both spouses have a right to property obtained during the marriage. A non-marital business can become marital property if marital funds were used to finance the business. A business can also become part of the marital estate if the non-owner spouse contributed to the business’s growth or success.

It is important to note that the rules determining property classification during divorce can be overridden by a valid prenuptial agreement. If you designated your business as non-marital property in your prenup or other marital agreement, this designation will likely be upheld during your divorce. The main exception to this occurs when a marital agreement contains mistakes or oversights that make the document invalid.

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Wheaton asset division attorney for financial restraining ordersYou have worked hard for the assets you own, so it is understandable that you would want to protect those assets from being misused or wasted. Protecting property during divorce is something that many spouses do not think about until it is too late. Although remedies are available for spouses who have suffered financial harm due to the other spouse’s financial recklessness during divorce, preventing wasteful spending is a better strategy than mitigating it after the fact. One way to protect funds and other property during divorce is to get a financial restraining order.

Stop Wasteful Spending or Intentional Destruction of Property

As most divorced people can tell you, the process of ending a marriage can sometimes bring out the worst side of people. If you are getting divorced, you may have concerns about your spouse’s financial decisions. You may be worried that he or she will carelessly spend money, sell property to finance an addiction, or otherwise make ill-informed financial decisions. You may even worry that your spouse will destroy your property or intentionally waste money to “get back at you.” A financial restraining order can help prevent this from happening.

A Temporary Financial Restraining Order Can Protect Your Assets

When most people hear “restraining order” they assume that the order is intended to prevent domestic violence or stalking. However, a financial restraining order has nothing to do with physical abuse. A temporary financial restraining order is used to prevent spouses from reckless spending or wasting marital assets during divorce. When spouses are subject to a temporary restraining order, they are prohibited from transferring, hiding, borrowing against assets, or otherwise disposing of property outside of typical financial transactions needed for everyday life. A financial restraining order will not prevent spouses from buying groceries or paying their bills, but it can prevent them from making large, unusual purchases, selling marital assets, or making other atypical financial decisions.

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Naperville divorce lawyerFor many people, pets are more than property, they are part of the family. However, pet ownership falls under the umbrella of property division during divorce. The division of marital assets and debts is often one of the most consequential aspects of the divorce process. Divorcing couples often disagree about the value of property and debt and who should keep certain properties. If you have dogs, cats, horses, birds, or other pets, you may have questions about how pet ownership is decided in an Illinois divorce.

Negotiating an Agreement With Your Spouse

Divorcing couples may be able to reach their own agreement about how to allocate pets and other property without taking their case to court. Although it can be very difficult to reach an agreement with a soon-to-be-ex-spouse, it is possible. Many couples eventually reach a settlement about how to divide property through attorney-led negotiations. Others turn to mediation or collaborative law. Often, one spouse retains ownership of pets while the other spouse is assigned an equitable share of different marital assets. Other times, couples choose to share ownership of pets similarly to how parents share custody of children.

Taking Your Case To Trial

The majority of Illinois divorce cases are resolved via settlement. However, there are some cases in which a couple simply cannot agree on a property division arrangement. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement through negotiations or alternative resolution methods like mediation and collaborative law, your case may go to trial. For years, Illinois courts treated dogs, cats, and other family pets exactly the same as other assets. If the pet was acquired by a spouse before the marriage took place, the pet may be classified as separate property and assigned to the original owner. If the pet was acquired after the marriage, the animal was subject to the same equitable distribution laws as other assets.

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