Calabrese Associates, P.C.

Call Us630-393-3111

4200 Cantera Drive, Suite 200 | Warrenville, IL 60555

IL divorce lawyerBecause couples are getting married later in life, divorce attorneys in Illinois have observed an increasing trend of divorcing spouses who own valuable personal property they acquired before their marriage. Unless a couple signed a clear and enforceable prenuptial agreement and was circumspect about keeping their personal and marital property separate throughout their marriage, it can be very difficult or impossible to separate personal and marital property in a divorce.

However, doing so is an important first step in the asset division process so each spouse can ensure they keep what is theirs in addition to securing their fair portion of the marital estate. To learn more about how marital and personal property can become commingled (combined) during a relationship, read on and then contact an Illinois divorce attorney for answers to your questions.

How Does Marital and Personal Property Become Commingled?

Once a marriage legally begins, everything of monetary value that either partner earns from employment is considered part of the marital estate. Any property that belonged to either spouse before the marriage, or that was inherited by or gifted to only one spouse during the marriage, remains the personal property of that spouse.

...

DuPage County divorce lawyersA personal jewelry collection is accumulated over many years and is often made up of gifts, inheritances, and collectible pieces bought during travels to faraway places or in locations of great personal significance. When an Illinois couple is facing a divorce, a spouse who has a significant jewelry collection may justifiably feel sorrow and frustration at the idea that their personal collection may be considered part of the marital estate and subject to a claim from the other spouse, whether all or in part. 

Nevertheless, all assets must be accounted for during a divorce. Determining whether a piece of jewelry is personal or marital property is not always easy and, because of this and other complications, having the help of an experienced asset division attorney can be very helpful when managing the division of marital assets. 

Is Jewelry Personal Property in an Illinois Divorce? 

Certain types of property are exempt from the asset division process. Gifts and inheritances, including property purchased with inherited funds, generally are not considered marital property and remain in the exclusive possession of the person who inherited or was given them. 

...

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.

...

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.

...

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.

...
Back to Top