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wheaton divorce lawyerGetting divorced is a complex process with many moving parts. Each of these parts - such as child custody, alimony, and asset division - has subsequent pieces of its own that require careful attention and management throughout the divorce process. Of all the things that must be decided during divorce, asset division has the potential to have the most long-term consequences, as the financial future of a divorcing couple can be highly influenced by the outcome of their property division agreement. This means assessing the correct value of assets is essential, and, because the family home is often the most valuable asset a couple owns together, an accurate home appraisal is necessary. 

How Do We Get Ready to Have Our House Appraised? 

A professional appraiser will come to your house, look at its interior and exterior, compare it to other homes in the area that have recently sold or are up for sale, and estimate the value of your home accordingly. You can influence the value of your home by preparing for the appraisal process by: 

  • Ensuring the inside and outside of your home is clean and tidy 

IL divoerce lawyerFor many married couples, student loans are an inevitable part of life. Getting an education is an incredibly expensive investment, and when a couple gets married before or during one or both spouses’ years in school, student loans may be taken on during the marriage. But what happens to such a significant amount of debt when a couple decides to get divorced? While the spouse whose education was paid for using student loans may seem like the natural person to take on responsibility for the loans, allocating student debt actually depends on a number of factors.

Who is Responsible for Student Loans in a Divorce?

Illinois law requires divorcing spouses to fairly divide their assets and debts. Fairly does not necessarily mean equally, however, and this is where the details really matter when it comes to student loans. Illinois courts prefer couples to create an asset and debt division agreement without intervention from a judge, but this is not always possible. Even when it is possible, both spouses need to make sure they understand the law, because a judge will need to review any proposed asset and debt division for fairness and equity. Some factors that will need to be considered include:

  • Who signed the contract? Student loans may be guaranteed with only one spouse’s signature, but often, both spouses are cosigners on a loan agreement. Even if only one spouse’s signature is on the loan, however, a divorce order could hold both spouses responsible for paying it back.
  • When was the debt taken out? If a spouse took out student debt before getting married, the debt will likely be seen as the personal debt of that spouse alone. Although there can be exceptions, assets and debt held by either spouse before marriage usually remain personal property and debt in a divorce.
  • Who did the loans benefit? One thing that may influence the allocation of student debt, regardless of which spouse took out the loans and when they did so, is whether both spouses benefitted from the debt. If the debt supported the whole family, including shared marital expenses, while only one spouse was in school, both spouses may be held responsible for paying it back.
  • Is there a prenuptial agreement? Many couples sign a prenuptial agreement discussing how any debt taken on during the marriage will be treated in a divorce. If such an agreement exists and is valid, it supersedes state law on debt division.

Meet with a St. Charles, IL Asset Division Lawyer

The topic of student loans in a divorce can be complex and difficult to resolve. If you are considering divorce or have already started negotiations with your spouse, you could benefit greatly from the help of an experienced Kane County divorce attorney with Goostree Law Group. We will not pressure you into taking any particular strategy with your divorce, but instead will support your preferences and give you the full range of options available to you. Call us today at 630-584-4800 to schedule a complimentary initial consultation and learn more.

Kane County divorce lawyerDivorce involves much more than a couple merely deciding to end their marriage. To complete the divorce, the spouses must address several crucial issues, including the division of their shared assets and debts, child custody, spousal support, child support, and more. Most of these issues involve finances, so one of the first steps in any divorce is to complete a financial disclosure.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act requires both spouses to provide full and accurate financial information to each other and to the court. This is accomplished through the use of a Financial Affidavit, which lists all income, debts, assets, and liabilities. The purpose of the financial disclosure is to give both spouses and the court a complete picture of each person's financial situation so that an equitable division of property can be achieved and support orders, if any, can be accurately calculated.

Some spouses are less than forthcoming with financial information. In cases like these, discovery tools may be used to obtain the necessary information.

What is Transmutation in a Divorce? 

Posted on in Division of Property

Kane County asset division lawyerThe division of marital assets and liabilities is often one of the most complicated and consequential aspects of the divorce process. Marital property is property and debts contained within the marital estate. Both spouses have a legal right to a share of marital property. Non-marital property is property and debts that are not part of the marital estate and are owned solely by one spouse. Non-marital property generally includes property that was acquired by either spouse before the marriage, inheritance or gifts received during the marriage, and property that is excluded by a valid prenuptial agreement. Transmutation of assets is the conversion of non-marital property to marital property or vice versa.

Commingling or Mixing of Property Can Lead to Transmutation

The transmutation of property generally occurs when one spouse commingles or mixes non-marital assets with marital assets. For example, if a wife deposits her separate funds into a joint account, these funds can be converted into marital funds. 

In rare cases, it is also possible for marital property to be converted into non-marital property. Consider an example in which a man owns a home but is still making mortgage payments at the time of his marriage. He and his spouse move into the home together and use marital funds to pay the mortgage payment each month. However, the home remains titled in his name alone. Essentially, marital funds could be considered as being transmuted into the man's non-marital estate. 

St. Charles divorce lawyerUnfortunately, the end of a marriage relationship can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Some divorcing spouses are so angry that they act out maliciously toward the other spouse. They may threaten their spouse, refuse to cooperate with the divorce process, or destroy their spouse's property. 

If your spouse destroyed, ruined, sold, or otherwise wasted money or property during your divorce, you may be able to seek legal recourse through a "dissipation of assets" claim. 

What is Dissipation of Assets? 

Illinois law describes dissipation of assets as  "any act or series of acts resulting in the depletion of marital property for a non-marital purpose." The law goes on to state that dissipation claims can be filed by either spouse during a divorce proceeding.

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