Premier Legal Representation You Can Afford

Chicago Property Division Lawyer For Dividing Assets

Disagreements over financial issues are a leading cause of divorce cases, so it is unsurprising that the division of marital property can be a difficult task. Dividing your assets and assigning debts during the divorce process can be emotional and stressful. Old and new conflicts may arise as the division of the property that you have accumulated during your marriage is undertaken. The legal professionals at NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq., can help you protect your financial interests, maintain possession of important property, and work hard to set you up for a safe financial future. While they know that an amicable solution is often the best for both parties, the attorneys will strongly advocate for your interests in court if the need arises.

What Is Considered Marital Property?

Marital property is considered the assets and debts that the couple acquired, either individually or jointly, when they were married. This property can include:

  • Bank accounts – This includes checking and savings accounts as well as investment accounts.
  • Business interests – This can include a business owned by one or both spouses. A business valuation should be completed to determine the company’s total value.
  • Retirement accounts – These accounts include joint retirement accounts as well as those where an employer contributed.
  • Real estate property – This can include the marital home and any vacation homes or rental properties the couple owns.
  • Physical property – Cars, jewelry, furniture and home furnishings, and other items all have value to consider. The division of these assets can be important, especially if there is sentimental or personal significance associated with them.
  • Debts – Any money owed on mortgages, credit cards, student loans or car loans will also be equitably divided.

In Illinois, marital property is divided in an equitable, not an equal, manner. Non-marital property is any assets or debts that the individual spouses accumulated before the marriage and that have stayed separate. It can also include gifts or inheritance given explicitly to just one of the spouses during the marriage.

How Property Is Divided In An Illinois Divorce

The spouses can attempt to agree on a division themselves through negotiation or mediation. However, if they cannot agree on all or parts of the division, a judge will decide as part of the divorce proceedings. Once the marital and non-marital property is established, the judge will consider several factors to equitably divide it between the spouses.

These factors include:

  • How long the couple was married
  • Each spouse’s age, health, and medical needs
  • Each spouse’s economic standing, including their income, earning capacity, education, and current assets
  • How much each spouse financially contributed to the marriage
  • The child custody arrangements for each spouse post-divorce, which can factor into decisions about who keeps the marital home, since it is often beneficial for a parent with a more significant share of parenting time or responsibilities to maintain the same residence
  • Any spousal maintenance arrangements that have been agreed to or negotiated
  • Whether either spouse has any other child support or spousal support obligations or agreements from a previous marriage or relationship
  • Whether either spouse “dissipated” any marital assets – if they purposely spent or squandered assets when it was clear the marriage was ending
  • Any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that the couple signed, as long as the judge ruled the agreement to be valid and does not unfairly favor one spouse

Separation Of Property For Unmarried Couples

Property division can be daunting for unmarried couples, often complicated by emotional and financial entanglements. In 2016, Illinois law was revised to address property division for unmarried couples. The Illinois Supreme Court’s decision clarified that unmarried couples do not have the same rights to property division as divorcing couples.

Before this ruling, unmarried couples’ property rights were ambiguous, leading to contentious legal battles and uneven outcomes. The court’s decision clarified the legal framework governing asset division, highlighting the importance of proactive measures in safeguarding individuals’ interests and assets within these relationships.

Establishing a cohabitation agreement is a proactive measure for unmarried couples. This legally binding document outlines the division of assets, liabilities and responsibilities in the event of separation. By clearly defining each party’s entitlements and obligations, the agreement can prevent disputes and streamline separation.

In addition, unmarried couples in civil unions can leverage postnuptial agreements to protect their interests. Like prenuptial marriage agreements, postnuptial agreements reduce asset division and financial matters, offering a blueprint for equitable separation. Working with a property division attorney can help couples better understand the importance of these agreements.

Numerous issues should be addressed when unmarried couples form cohabitation agreements or decide to separate, including:

  • The disposition of all real property and personal items, including houses, cars, furniture and collections
  • Leases, whether for residential or commercial properties, to determine responsibilities post-separation
  • Shared expenses and tax obligations to prevent financial entanglements
  • Bank accounts and investments to account for contributions and any joint ventures.
  • Arrangements for the care and custody of beloved pets
  • Retirement savings, such as 401(k) plans, pensions and IRAs
  • Health care coverage and insurance policies, including health, life and auto insurance
  • Estate plans, including wills, trusts and beneficiary designations to reflect current wishes

The Chicago property division lawyers at NextLevel Law, P.C., can help unmarried couples ensure a more comprehensive and equitable approach to property division, minimizing potential conflicts during separation.

Contact A Chicago Divorce Lawyer For Property Division

The skilled lawyers at NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq., can help you through the often emotional and challenging process of dividing your marital property. The team will work to meet your current and future financial needs. The firm offers fixed fees for our cases and is committed to providing you with affordable representation. Its attorneys handle divorce cases throughout Chicago and Cook County and offer services in Spanish or English. Call 312-442-2225 or contact the firm online to schedule a free consultation.