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DuPage County asset division lawyerSometimes in a divorce proceeding, one or both spouses try to get an unfair advantage in regard to property division. Asset hiding is depressingly common, with Forbes reporting approximately one-third of people with joint bank accounts have committed “financial deception.” However, it is still illegal, and you could be in serious trouble if you are caught.

Illinois Property Division

In Illinois, marital property division is done equitably, which means fairly rather than equally. It is generally held to be a matter of good public policy that divorce proceedings do not leave one spouse in a significantly financially disadvantaged position. If one spouse has far more earning potential than the other, he or she will likelyl be ordered to provide more support or given fewer assets.

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DuPage County divorce attorneyIn many divorce cases, determining how property will be divided is among the most challenging aspects. It can be extremely difficult to decide if who will get what, especially if neither spouse brought substantial property to marriage in the first place. If you are considering a divorce, it is important to know what the law says about dividing your marital property.

Step One: What Is Divisible?

The first step in allocating property in a divorce is to determine what assets or debts are considered part of the marital estate. With very limited exceptions for inheritances and gifts to one spouse, almost any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property and is subject to division. Property that each spouse owned prior to the marriage will generally not be divisible and will remain with the spouse who owned it previously. As with any rule, there are exceptions, but for the most part, if you obtained an asset or debt while you were married, it is part of the marital estate.

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Naperville family law attorneyWhen a couple is going through a divorce, the most difficult part of the process is often asset division. This may be especially true if there is a family business involved, as the intricacies of evaluating a business can make considerations for property division quite complex. If possible, having clauses in your business agreement to deal with the possibility of a divorce can prevent problems down the road, but if it is too late for that, the next best option is to be as familiar as possible with how business valuation actually works.

Before Going Into Business

Two scenarios can occur in terms of business interests and marriage. The first, more common situation is that your spouse does not work with you in the business, but by virtue of you owning equity in the business, he or she may be entitled to a stake if you divorce. Even though a business that you start before marriage is technically non-marital property, it has a good chance of becoming marital property, given the nature of Illinois law. Personal effort from one or both spouses can be seen as contributions not from the individuals but from the marital estate, which could make the entire business—or at least a substantial portion of it—marital property.

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