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Posted on in Divorce

Naperville divorce attorneysMaking the decision to get divorced is never easy and the process of ending a marriage can be painful and tedious. Understandably, many spouses want their divorce to be over as soon as possible. If you have decided to end your marriage in Illinois, you may be wondering, “How long will it take for my divorce to be finalized?” The answer will depend on a wide variety of factors including the married couple’s life circumstances, wealth, and ability to cooperate during the divorce process.

Complex Assets and High Net-Worth Will Complicate Property Division

Illinois divides marital property according to equitable division laws. Instead of property being split exactly evenly with each spouse receiving 50 percent of the marital estate, property is divided according to what is fair or equitable. The more property and debt a couple has accumulated during marriage, the more work it will take to divide this property and debt during divorce. The amount of time it will take for property division decisions to be finalized will largely depend on how well the couple cooperates, the value of their assets, and the type of property owned. Complex assets like retirement plans, pensions, and stock options can be harder to valuate and divide than other assets. If the couple has other complex investments such as a family business, the divorce process will likely take longer than average.

Disagreements Will Lengthen Your Divorce

When two people get married, it is not only a romantic union, but also a financial union. Spouses share assets, property, funds, and make joint purchases together. When disagreements about property division arise, this can extend the divorce process. Another way that a divorce becomes much more complex is when spouses disagree about how to share custody of children. Child custody is called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois.

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DuPage County family law attorneysIt is an unfortunate reality that divorce can sometimes bring out the worst in people. When a marriage is ending, spouses can sometimes act in ways which deplete the martial estate. They may purposely waste marital funds so that the other spouse does not have access to them or they may have an expensive drug, alcohol, gambling, or shopping addiction which drains the estate. If you are getting divorced and your spouse has squandered shared assets, you may be able to recover these assets through a dissipation claim.

Illinois Law Regarding Dissipation of Assets

The term “dissipation” generally means to waste or spend resources frivolously or recklessly. With regard to divorce law, dissipation occurs when a spouse uses marital funds for a purpose not benefiting the marriage after the marriage has suffered an “irretrievable breakdown.” There is some ambiguity about what exactly constitutes this breakdown, but it is generally defined as the moment that a married couple ceases attempts at reconciliation. In other words, an irretrievable breakdown occurs when divorce is imminent.

Examples of Dissipation

The Illinois Supreme Court has defined dissipation as the sale or use of marital property “for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage.” This means that using marital funds for household bills or a mortgage payment is not dissipation. If a husband used thousands of dollars of martial funds on a vacation for him and his secret girlfriend during the end of his marriage, it is very likely that this would be considered dissipative. Similarly, if a wife has a substance abuse problem and spends a significant amount of money on drugs after the breakdown of her marriage, her spouse could claim dissipation. Spouses may also be able to file a dissipation claim when marital property “goes missing” and the other spouse cannot account for why the money or property was used.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysGetting divorced is always a challenging endeavor, but for those facing a divorce after not working outside the home, it can seem impossible. If you have been a stay-at-home parent or homemaker and are considering divorce, you may have many concerns about what will happen after your marriage ends. How will you get a job and support yourself with so little work experience? Will your non-financial contributions to the home and family be taken into consideration by Illinois courts during divorce? Fortunately, Illinois law does recognize the issues homemakers and stay-at-home parents face when they get divorced, and there are several legal options available to make the transition to single life more manageable.

Non-Financial Contributions Matter Too

The sacrifices a parent or spouse makes for his or her family should be accounted for during divorce. Illinois law considers marriage to be a “joint enterprise” meaning it recognizes the contributions that a stay-at-home mother or father and/or homemaker made to the marriage. A parent who sacrificed his or her professional career for caretaking responsibilities is at a significant financial disadvantage after divorce. Illinois courts therefore consider both party’s’ future employability and contributions to the marriage – both financial and non-financial – during decisions about property and spousal maintenance.

Illinois Divides Property Equitably

Unlike some other states, Illinois divides property according to a method called “equitable distribution.” This means that property is not automatically divided 50/50. Instead, many factors are taken into account during property division. These factors include, but are not limited to:

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