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dupage county divorce lawyerAll divorces can be difficult, but high-net-worth divorces are inclined to be more complicated, laborious, expensive, and lengthy because of the division of high-valued assets. A high-net-worth divorce attorney will uncover any hidden and devalued assets possessed by the opposing party. Once discovered and classified, a high-net-worth divorce attorney will advocate for the equitable division of marital and non-marital property. A high-net-worth divorce lawyer will also tackle the more commonplace disputes, such as alimony, child support, child custody, and parenting time.

Although marital agreements can mitigate the complexities of high-net-worth divorces, they can sometimes be deemed invalid. For instance, a spouse can claim the signing of a marital agreement was under coercion. So, a high-net-worth divorce attorney will scrupulously evaluate all assets and agreements.

Seven Common Conflicts of High-Net-Worth Divorce

  • Hidden assets – A spouse may hide assets under a different name or entity throughout the marriage or during the divorce proceedings. Such assets could include land, real estate, jewelry, art, a plane, or even a yacht
  • Devalued assets – Deliberately depreciating the value of rare antiques and art by falsifying the original price or damaging the property is a tactic a spouse may use to undermine premarital assets. 
  • Employer collusion – This entails a spouse colluding with an employer to postpone stock options or bonuses until after the divorce with the intent to hide marital funds.
  • Redirected financial statements – Changing mailing addresses of a bank, credit card, and other financial statements to be sent to secret post office boxes or email accounts may indicate a spouse’s intent to hide funds.
  • Overpaid income taxes – To defer a tax refund until after the divorce, a spouse might overpay current income taxes.
  • Pay down debt – For purposes of hiding funds, a spouse might pay down mortgages, credit cards, or loans, resulting in a reduction of outstanding principal.
  • Fraudulent conveyance – Covertly transferring assets to another legal entity, like a corporation, could be deemed fraudulent.  Another example of fraudulent conveyance is selling assets, such as a rare painting, to a relative or friend only to repurchase it after the finalized divorce decree.

How to Proceed   

Marital and non-marital high-net assets could include businesses, real estate, stock, trust funds, royalties, and inheritance.  Every high-net-worth divorce is unique and encumbered with challenges as extensive as they are diverse. For instance, an alternate payee, the non-employee or non-contributing spouse, could be the sole proprietor of a non-marital family inheritance that is in dispute by the opposing party. Along with protecting assets and advocating for fair asset division, high-net-worth divorce lawyers are also disciplined in inheritance matters. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1901549803.jpgPublic Act 99-90 (SB 57) amended the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act and related statutes, eliminating fault-based divorce. Effective January 1, 2016, Illinois became a no-fault state, meaning that a spouse cannot be blamed for a divorce even if the spouse committed infidelity or mental abuse. A no-fault divorce denotes an irretrievably broken marriage. As opposed to at-fault divorces, no-fault grounds allege irreconcilable differences, which may diminish the emotional strife related to the dissolution of a family.

Illinois divorces are either contested or uncontested. When spouses who cannot agree on one or more divorce issues, this is called a contested divorce. Iin an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on the divorce terms. Obliviously, divorces without disputes are cost-effective because, unlike a contested divorce, an uncontested divorce can promptly proceed. Unfortunately, agreement on all issues is not always possible. 

Six Procedures in a Contested Divorce

High net-worth or complex contested divorces often necessitate expert witnesses, such as a financial advisor or a forensic accountant. Contested divorces will typically undergo the following steps:

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dupage county divorce lawyer Collaborative Law is a newer and growing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) model that avoids litigation. Divorce lawyers of both parties agree to resolve divorce issues out of the courtroom. Unlike traditional divorce proceedings, a collaborative divorce removes the litigation battle's emotionally and financially taxing threat. These legal process advocates for an amicable, respectful, and dignified divorce proceeding.

How Collaborative Divorce Law Works

Collaborative law divorce attorneys are specially trained in practicing this type of dispute resolution. The contesting parties must be willing to participate in the collaborative divorce law process. After each party retains a collaborative law lawyer, they voluntarily sign a participation agreement that obligates them to follow the collaborative divorce law procedure. Collaborative law values problem-solving and promotes a fair and thoughtful settlement. Financial experts, a divorce coach, therapists, and other specialists might be hired to help facilitate a satisfying divorce decree.

Collaborative divorce law accommodates both parties, focusing on the needs and best interests of the children and entire family. This type of divorce remains private.  Each party cooperates and participates in establishing their own agreements. When a settlement is agreed upon, the collaborative law attorneys compose the agreements and present them to the judge for finalization. 

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