Wheaton, IL Attorney Dividing Assets, Property, And Debt
Asset Division Lawyer in DuPage County
Illinois law requires an equitable division of marital property in divorce, which is not necessarily the same thing as an equal division. The underlying goal is that the divorce not be an unfair financial burden on any one party, either now or in the future. After a thorough and deliberate discovery process and negotiation between the parties, the judge typically approves most any plan that is not manifestly unfair. In the event the parties do not agree, which is quite common, the matter will be resolved in formal mediation or at trial.
While the judge's goal is a fair division, our goal at The Law Office of Judith Jenz is a division that protects your legal and financial interests. Like you, we are not satisfied with anything less than the best possible outcome in any given situation.
Property Division Process
Equitably dividing a marital estate is never an easy process, but it does not have to be long and drawn out. Our professionals employ proven methods throughout the three-step process.
Before assets can be divided in a divorce, they must be located and, if necessary, appraised. Many times, in the lead-up to a divorce, a spouse may try to conceal assets. If the need arises, an attorney can partner with a financial professional to uncover all the spouses' property.
Once assets are identified, they must be properly classified. In Illinois, assets are either marital or non-marital property. Sometimes, property can become commingled and the distinction becomes blurry. For example, a couple may take out a second mortgage on their residence and use the proceeds to improve rental property that one spouse owned prior to the marriage.
Finally, in order to equitably divide the marital estate, the judge may consider "all relevant factors," including:
- Income and property of each party;
- Each party's earning capacity;
- Child custody provisions;
- A spouse's non-economic contributions to the marriage;
- Dissipation (waste) of assets;
- The standard of living established during the relationship; and
- Any agreement between the parties.
The judge cannot consider marital misconduct during this phase, at least not directly, but the amount of spousal maintenance can be an important factor in a property division.
Since money flowing out is every bit as valuable as money flowing in, marital and non-marital debts must be divided in a similar fashion. There can also be an offset between the two; for example, one spouse may agree to pay the lion's share of credit card bills in exchange for the lion's share of a retirement account or other marital asset.
At The Law Office of Judith Jenz, we serve as your strong advocate in property division matters. Contact Judith Jenz today at 630-202-8842 for a confidential consultation. We offer convenient payment plans and serve clients in DuPage County and throughout Illinois.