Tag Archives: division of property

How Domestic Violence Affects Divorce SettlementsDomestic violence between spouses can lead to or result from divorce. A person may choose to end his or her marriage because his or her spouse is abusive. In other cases, asking for a divorce may trigger a spouse’s threatening behavior. Either way, domestic violence changes how a divorce is settled. The divorce court will likely favor the victim in matters of allocation of parental responsibilities and division of property.

Order of Protection

With any case of domestic violence, the victim’s first responsibility is to protect him or herself, as well as other victims. A victim spouse should immediately seek an order of protection against the abusive spouse. The order includes several benefits for the victim spouse, such as:

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What to Consider When Making a Premarital AgreementCreating a premarital agreement is negotiating aspects of your divorce before you get married. If you have been through a divorce before, you remember how complex those negotiations were. If this is your first marriage, the process may seem overwhelming and intimidating. When thinking about your premarital agreement, it helps to remember its purpose. You and your future spouse are determining how your properties would be divided in a theoretical divorce without the animosity of the divorce clouding your judgment. When making a premarital agreement, you should anticipate financial decisions that would need to be made during a divorce.

Premarital Properties

If you divorce, your properties would be classified as either marital or nonmarital. Your marital properties would be divided equitably between the two of you, while you would keep all of your nonmarital property. Distinguishing between marital and nonmarital property becomes more difficult when spouses have been married for several years. The clearest distinction is which properties were purchased before the marriage. Your premarital agreement can identify and protect your nonmarital assets, such as:

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Cohabitation Does Not Entitle Couple to Share of PropertySociety has become more accepting of couples who cohabitate without marriage, but laws do not yet treat them equally. Some states, including Illinois, prohibit common law marriages, in which couples act and present themselves as married but never obtain a legal union. While this may limit a couple’s rights when they are together, it also affects them when their relationship ends. Illinois laws state that couples who dissolve their marriages or civil unions are entitled to an equitable division of their shared properties. Because Illinois does not recognize common law marriages, cohabitating couples do not have the same property rights unless they created their own separation agreement.

Legal Precedent

Illinois’ Supreme Court has twice decided that cohabitating couples are not required to equitably divide their properties after their relationships end:

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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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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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