Going through a divorce is never easy, but the process can become even more complex when valuable assets must be divided. At the Law Offices of Nick Kulagin, our dedicated family law lawyers can represent individuals throughout DuPage County and Kane County in pursuit of their fair share of marital property. With 15 years of experience, our Wheaton attorneys understand this area of the law and can put our knowledge to use in your case. You can rest assured that we are dedicated to protecting your family, your home, and your business.Dividing Property During the Marriage Dissolution Process
The first step in property division is categorizing assets as either marital property or non-marital property. Marital property is defined as any assets or debts acquired over the course of the marriage. Regardless of how the property is held or whose name is on the title, if it was acquired during the marriage, it is presumed to be marital property.
Non-marital property consists of any assets acquired prior to the marriage. Additionally, non-marital property includes any assets given to one spouse through gift or inheritance, assets specifically designated as non-marital property by a legal agreement, and any assets acquired by a spouse after a judgment of legal separation. Non-marital property belongs solely to one spouse. Therefore, the spouse who owns it gets to keep it at the time of the divorce.
It is important to note that the status of non-marital property can change to marital property if ‘commingling’ occurs. This is when non-marital property is combined with marital property. For example, a house owned by one spouse alone can become marital property if both spouses contribute to the mortgage payments after their marriage.
Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property must be divided fairly between the spouses. The court will evaluate a number of factors when deciding what is fair. Some of these factors include each party’s contribution to the home and family, each party’s education and earning potential, the value of the assets, the tax consequences of dividing property, any obligations from a prior marriage, and child custody arrangements.
Recent amendments to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) made a noteworthy change in the area of property division. Previously, unless a couple was legally separated, their salary and other acquisitions remained marital property until the divorce was finalized. Now, the marital estate is terminated as of the date the divorce petition is filed.
The recent amendments also permit a court to seek an independent financial expert to help value assets. The valuation of property and other assets will utilize the fair market value standard. The parties will be able to cross-examine this expert, and the costs of the expert will be divided between them.
Formerly, the court valued assets as of the date of the trial. Now, the value of the assets can be determined on a date that the parties agree, or a date set by the court. This provision is intended to address the problem of updating stale valuation in case the trial is pushed back.Contact a Family Law Lawyer in Kane or DuPage County
Our knowledgeable divorce attorneys can guide Kane and DuPage County residents through the process of asserting their rights when it comes to property division. We have the necessary skill and experience to protect your interests. The Law Offices of Nick Kulagin also serves people from Hoffman Estates, Oak Park, Naperville, and Geneva, among other communities. Call us at 630-480-6399 or contact us online for a free consultation.