Category Archives: property division

Financial Mistakes to Avoid During Your DivorceIt is easy to think of a divorce settlement in terms of winners and losers. You may feel like you won the negotiations if you obtained most of the marital properties you wanted and secured favorable support payments. However, there is more to a divorce settlement than the initial financial totals:

  • Property ownership can come with additional expenses;
  • Some properties have more potential for growth; and
  • How support payments are structured can favor one side in terms of taxes.

You need to take a broad perspective of the financial consequences of your divorce settlement.

Pursuing Your Home

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Trusts Protect Assets During DivorceProperties are categorized during a divorce as being marital or non-marital. Marital properties must be equitably divided between the spouses, but non-marital properties are exempt. A spouse has an incentive to identify non-marital properties in order to protect them. Spouses often share their most valuable assets, which may make them marital properties. However, a court may rule that a trust made in one spouse’s name is non-marital property, even if the other spouse was named as a beneficiary. Revocable trusts can protect money and properties from division during a divorce.

Understanding Trusts

A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, is an estate-planning document that allocates assets to beneficiaries without the need for probate court. The grantor puts income and properties into the trust, which is administered by a third-party trustee. Though the trust owns the assets, the grantor has control over them while alive. Upon the grantor’s death, the assets are distributed per the trust’s instructions. A spouse is often a primary beneficiary of a trust, but Illinois law automatically revokes a former spouse’s beneficiary status after completion of a divorce. If the trust was established for the sole purpose of benefiting the spouse, a divorce will revoke the entire trust.

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Marital Property Has Monetary, Sentimental ValueDivorcing spouses are required to divide their marital property as part of the settlement. It is important to accurately value all of your assets to ensure that you are getting an equitable share. There are tangible and intangible ways you can assign worth to assets, and understanding them is key to successfully negotiating your division of property. If the court is forced to decide on the division of property, it may not know the personal importance you place on assets that seem less valuable.  When assessing the value of your marital property, there are four questions that you should answer.

Which Properties Are Shared?

Before assigning values to your properties, you need to identify your marital properties that will be subject to division. Courts typically consider marital properties to be those that:

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Double Dipping and Business Valuations During DivorceDouble dipping comes in many forms and generally leaves at least one person upset. When it occurs during a divorce, a spouse is giving up an inequitable share of money or assets. “Double dipping” in divorce happens when a spouse’s income is used to determine both:

Many states, including Illinois, try to prevent double dipping by not counting personal income as a marital property. During business valuations, distinguishing personal income from marital property can be difficult. A business is both a shared property and an individual income source. How you determine a business’ value can prevent double dipping.

Valuation Process

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Reasons to Sell or Keep Your House During a DivorceHouse ownership can be difficult to negotiate during a divorce because it is one of the most valuable properties in a marriage. In Illinois, marital property is equitably divided during a divorce, which means it is split fairly but not always evenly. In many cases, one spouse keeps the house, while the other spouse receives compensation through money or other assets. Spouses can also choose to sell the house and divide the proceeds. There are advantages and disadvantages to selling a marital house.

Reasons to Sell the House

  • When you sell the house, you have an actual monetary value for it instead of an estimated value. Knowing the actual value can help in negotiating an equitable division.
  • If you cannot agree on ownership of the house, selling it may be the only way you can reach an agreement. When negotiations are at an impasse, the court will decide how to divide the value of the house and may order you to sell it anyway.
  • While you shared the expenses when married, owning the house individually shifts the mortgage, utility, maintenance and property tax costs to you. Your ability to afford the house may depend on the spousal support payments you receive.
  • If you want to keep the house, you may need to give up several other marital assets. Selling the house allows you to share its value, instead of having to compensate your spouse with other assets.
  • Depending on the volatility of your marriage, you may want to leave the house because of negative memories you have of it.

Reasons to Keep the House

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 200
St. Charles, IL 60174

 630-584-4800

 400 S. County Farm Road, Suite 300
Wheaton, IL 60187

 630-407-1777

Our Illinois divorce attorneys represent clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County, including Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, Virgil, Lily Lake, Aurora, North Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Gilberts, Millcreek, Maple Park, Kaneville, LaFox, Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Bristol, Newark, DeKalb, Sycamore, Naperville, Wheaton, West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Oak Brook, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Schaumburg, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Plainfield, Sandwich, Yorkville and many other cities.

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