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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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naperville divorce lawyerEnding a marriage is never easy, even when you have decided that it is the best choice for you and your children. No matter the circumstances that brought you to this point, the divorce process is often a painful one and you may find yourself dealing with anger, stress, sadness, and even grief. While you work through the emotional issues of divorce, there are also legal issues that must be dealt with. Having a skilled Naperville divorce attorney looking out for your best interests is crucial during this time.

Choosing Your Divorce Attorney

Once you have made the decision to file for divorce, it is important to discover and understand what all of your legal options are. Some people do consider filing for divorce without an attorney, however, if you and your spouse have children, property, and/or debt, it is best to hire an attorney to handle the divorce for you. 

It is also important to hire an attorney who specializes in divorces and other Illinois family law issues. An attorney who does not regularly handle divorce or child custody cases may not recognize certain common divorce or custody issues that could come up in your case and this could result in a negative ruling against you. Attorneys have areas of specialty just like doctors do. You do not want to go to an attorney who usually only handles personal injury cases or estate plans to handle your divorce.

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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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