Calabrese Associates, P.C.

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4200 Cantera Drive, Suite 200 | Warrenville, IL 60555

IL divorce lawyerEven under the best of circumstances, asset division is one of the most difficult and complex aspects of the Illinois divorce process. This is especially true when a couple has a high net worth and has money invested in complex assets that may be difficult to value. Sometimes, one spouse will take advantage of this and hide marital property in an effort to reduce their spousal maintenance or child support payments and to reduce the amount of marital property they have to split during the asset division process. This is unethical and illegal.

Fortunately, there are effective measures available for discovering hidden marital property. Financial experts such as forensic accountants can assist an experienced divorce attorney in the process of finding and valuing marital assets so the asset division process can be done equitably. If you believe your spouse may be trying to hide assets, here are some things you can do.

Hire Professional Help

In addition to your divorce attorney, there are experts who specialize in tracing hidden assets. Private investigators, forensic accountants, and business evaluation experts are commonly involved in helping spouses recover marital assets that have been fraudulently transferred, sold, or otherwise hidden. Let your team of professionals do the hard work of finding assets so you can focus on other things.

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Naperville IL divorce lawyerSpouses need to address many different types of legal and financial matters when getting divorced, and attempting to understand the laws that apply to them and the terminology used in their case can sometimes be overwhelming. Spouses who own assets such as retirement accounts or pensions may have heard that they should use a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). By understanding what this type of order covers and when it should be used, spouses can make sure they will be able to divide their marital assets correctly while addressing any related financial issues.

Using a QDRO to Divide Retirement Assets

All assets acquired by spouses during their marriage will need to be fairly and equitably divided during the divorce process. In addition to physical property, assets may include retirement savings or benefits that may not be accessible by the spouses at the time of their divorce. Contributions made by a spouse to a retirement savings account or pension benefits that a person earned while married may need to be divided either at the time of divorce or in the future.

Typically, the administrator of a qualified retirement plan that is covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) can only pay benefits to the person participating in the plan. A QDRO will allow benefits to be paid to an alternate payee. This order will provide instructions to the plan administrator stating that either a specific monetary amount or a percentage of benefits should be paid to a person’s ex-spouse.

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Naperville IL divorce lawyerWhen you get divorced, you will likely be concerned about your finances. Shifting from sharing financial resources with your spouse to supporting yourself on a single income can be a difficult adjustment, and the decisions made about how you and your spouse will divide your marital assets can also affect the resources that will be available to you. Unfortunately, these issues can become even more complicated and difficult if your spouse has spent, wasted, or destroyed your marital property or if you are worried that they plan to do so. However, with the help of a skilled attorney, you can protect against the dissipation of marital assets and make sure you will have the financial resources you need.

What Is Asset Dissipation?

If one spouse uses marital funds or property for their sole benefit and for purposes unrelated to their marriage during the period where the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown, this is considered asset dissipation. For example, a spouse could spend marital funds while pursuing an extramarital affair, such as by buying gifts for someone other than their spouse or going on trips with that person and paying for plane tickets, hotel rooms, and meals. Dissipation could also include spending money on gambling or to further a drug addiction, buying expensive items solely for one’s own benefit, or intentionally destroying property.

If one spouse has dissipated assets, the other spouse can make an asset dissipation claim during the process of dividing marital property, asking the court to address this issue by requiring the spouse to reimburse the marital estate for the dissipated assets or grant the other spouse a larger share of marital property. A dissipation claim must be made at least 60 days before a divorce trial begins or 30 days after the end of the discovery process. Dissipation must have occurred after the date that the couple’s marriage began undergoing an irretrievable breakdown, and a spouse cannot make a dissipation claim more than three years after they knew or should have known about the dissipation or for an incident more than five years before either party filed a petition for divorce.

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DuPage County property division attorneyWhen spouses choose to end their marriage through divorce, they will need to address and resolve multiple different financial issues. During the process of dividing marital assets, real estate property owned by either or both spouses will be one of the key issues to consider, since these are likely to be some of the most valuable assets a couple owns. In addition to determining how to handle ownership of their marital home, couples may also need to consider other properties they own, such as vacation homes or commercial properties. To ensure that these assets are addressed properly, it is important to work with an experienced divorce lawyer, as well as other experts who can perform appraisals of property and provide guidance about financial decisions.

Factors to Consider When Dividing Real Estate and Other Marital Property

If a couple’s marital home or any other piece of real estate property was acquired during their marriage, it will usually be considered a marital asset that will need to be divided along with other property. However, even if real estate was owned by one spouse before getting married, it may be converted from separate property into marital property if both spouses used the property, made improvements, or contributed to mortgage payments and other expenses related to the home. In some cases, a spouse who owns real estate that is considered separate property may be required to repay the other spouse for their contributions to increased property values or equity in the home.

Divorcing spouses may sell their marital home and divide the proceeds from the sale, or one spouse may retain ownership of the home, while the other spouse receives other marital property of a similar value. When selling real estate property, spouses should be sure to understand whether capital gains taxes will apply to the profits they earn. If one spouse will own the home, the mortgage will usually need to be refinanced, and the other spouse will need to be removed from the home’s title and deed. A spouse who plans to maintain sole ownership of their home should be sure they will have the financial resources to make mortgage payments and pay other ongoing expenses, including utilities, maintenance, and property taxes.

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DuPage County retirement asset division lawyerGetting a divorce involves dealing with many different types of legal and financial concerns. While you may be primarily focused on matters such as the custody of your children or the ownership of your property, you will need to understand how your divorce will affect your financial future. If you have begun saving for retirement, understanding what will happen to these savings will be crucial for ensuring that you can maintain financial stability later in life. An experienced divorce attorney can help you determine how to divide retirement accounts and pension benefits with your spouse.

Division of Retirement Plans and Pensions

During your divorce, you and your spouse will need to divide all of your marital property. This includes most of the assets that you acquired, either together or separately, during your marriage, as well as your marital debts. While Illinois law does not require assets to be divided equally between the two of you, it does state that your property should be divided in a fair and equitable manner. 

Either you or your spouse may own one or more retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s or IRAs, and these accounts may contain funds that you have deposited or had withheld from your income, as well as contributions from your employer matching a percentage of the amount you have saved. All funds contributed to these accounts during your marriage will typically be considered marital property, and during divorce, they can be split between you and your spouse, or you may make other arrangements, such as one spouse keeping the majority of a retirement account’s funds and the other spouse maintaining ownership of the family home.

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