Among the most contentious and complex questions any divorcing couple needs to resolve asks: How do we divide the marital property? A divorce cannot be finalized until the spouses can reach a settlement on issues of asset division or, alternatively, the issue can be resolved by an Illinois court.
For separating couples who are currently going through a contested divorce, careful attention must be paid to some of the common issues that can make splitting up assets especially complicated. Here, our Illinois divorce lawyers highlight three issues that you need to keep in mind when splitting property in a contested divorce.
1. Are You Sure You Have Identified All Marital Assets?
Under Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/503), marital assets must be divided in an ‘equitable’ manner. Of course, it is impossible to divide marital property fairly if you do not know exactly what is owned by each partner and by the marriage as a whole. Unfortunately, in contested divorce cases, where communication may have broken down or one party may not be acting in good faith, intentional concealment of assets can become a major issue. If you are pursuing a contested divorce in Illinois, you must be sure your spouse is not hiding any assets. Should you have suspicions or definitive knowledge of hidden assets, an experienced divorce attorney can help you protect your rights.
2. Do You Know How to Value Non-Monetary Property?
Beyond identification of assets, valuation presents another significant challenge. While valuing the proceeds of a bank account is straightforward, there are many assets that cannot be easily valued with a specific dollar amount. Further, married couples often own property, which has considerable sentimental value. Sentimental value is real and it is important. However, assigning a pure economic value, as an Illinois court will do, may not work very well. Often, creative and individualized solutions are needed to divide non-monetary property in an equitable manner. For couples who are involved in a fiercely contested divorce, finding these solutions can be more difficult.
3. Are You Prepared to Deal With Complex Assets?
Finally, it can be especially challenging for couples going through a contested divorce to deal with complex property. Certain assets cannot necessarily be divided in a straightforward manner. Two of the most common examples include business interests and retirement assets. The good news is there are legal tools available, which can allow complex assets to be divided more efficiently and effectively. For example, your Illinois divorce attorney can help you set up a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) that allows retirement savings/retirement holdings to be split without incurring any tax penalties or early withdrawal fees.
Get Help From an Illinois Asset Division Attorney Today
At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois divorce lawyers have the skills and experience needed to handle complex property division issues in contested divorce cases. To get a free, fully confidential divorce consultation, please contact our law firm right away. We have offices in Naperville and Aurora, and our attorneys serve communities throughout the region, including in Will County and DuPage County.