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St. Charles property division lawyerMost of the decisions you make during your divorce can and probably will affect you for the rest of your life, but one of the most important decisions you and your spouse must come to is how you will divide your marital estate. For many couples, this can be an emotional and highly contentious process because of the importance placed on their belongings and the need to have financial security after the divorce process has been completed. The way marital property is divided can affect a person’s financial stability or even their ability to retire later in life. With so much at stake, Illinois courts urge couples to try to come to an agreement on their own about property division, though, if they cannot, they will have to take the issue to court.

Factors for Consideration

If a couple is unable to reach an agreement about how their marital estate will be divided, they will have to appear before a judge so that he or she can make a determination for them. If this happens, the judge will only make decisions about marital property, which means most property that was acquired after the couple was legally married but before a judgment of legal separation was entered. The judge will consider a variety of factors, including:

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St. Charles, IL spousal maintenance attorney

Someone who has a greater income than his or her spouse can have an advantage during a divorce. If each spouse is left with only their individual resources, the wealthier spouse would be able to hire a more expensive lawyer, pay for other advisers, and better afford a prolonged legal battle. Illinois tries to level the playing field during a divorce by allowing someone to request interim attorney fees and costs from their spouse if they cannot afford these expenses. This divorce tool is a financial boon or burden, depending on which side of the court order you are on.

Receiving Interim Fees

As the name suggests, you will file for interim attorney fees and costs while the case is still ongoing. This request is strictly meant to pay for your legal fees related to your divorce. If you need help paying for your living expenses, you need to file for temporary spousal maintenance. When deciding whether to grant interim attorney fees, the court will consider:

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Kane County family law attorneyIssues of money and property are often among the most contested elements in any divorce situation. A couple who has spent many years building a life together frequently have trouble disengaging from one another, at least in regard to their assets and debts. When divorcing spouses cannot reach a negotiated agreement regarding how their property will be divided, the court will make such decisions for them. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides fairly straightforward guidelines for the distribution of marital property which must be followed by the court.

What Property Will Be Divided?

Before any assets can be distributed, the court must first identify the property that is subject to division. Only assets and debts that are considered marital property will be divided between the spouses. The full listing of a couple’s marital property is sometimes referred to as the “marital estate.” According to Illinois law, the marital estate consists of virtually all property—including assets and debts—acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Very limited exceptions may be made for assets acquired during the marriage as a gift or inheritance to one spouse. Assets that were owned before the marriage are considered non-marital and are not subject to division.

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Kane County divorce attorneysIf you are thinking about a divorce, you probably realize that you and your spouse will need to figure out a plan for dividing the property that you own as a couple. You may also understand that if you cannot reach an agreement on your own, the court will need to step in and divide your assets and debts for you. Finally, you may even know that the property division laws in Illinois are based on the principals of equitable distribution, which means that, if left to the court, your marital property will be divided in a way that is fair and just, not necessarily evenly.

Many individuals, however, are unsure about what the law considers to be marital property. Countless movies and television shows suggest that just about anything a person has ever owned—both prior to and during the marriage—is fair game in a divorce. Fictional characters are often encouraged to be wary of marriage because if it ends badly, his or her spouse will supposedly get half of everything. Assuming that the marital property was supposed to be split 50/50 in Illinois, a spouse would not be entitled to a share of anything the other party ever owned. Instead, the law provides a definition of what comprises the marital estate which, at times, can be a little complicated.

When the Property Was Acquired

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyForensic accounting is the practice of using accounting skills to uncover acts of fraud or embezzlement. It can be used in a variety of situations, such as determining whether a financial adviser or other trusted party is embezzling money from his or her clients or determining whether a business is actually a front for a money laundering operation. In a divorce case, forensic accounting can be used to uncover assets that an individual is attempting to hide from his or her partner in an effort to come away from the divorce with a greater share of the couple's marital asset pool. If you suspect your partner is doing this, speak with your divorce attorney about your options for using forensic accounting to recover the assets.

How Does a Forensic Accountant Find Assets?

A forensic accountant is an accountant who uses investigative skills to determine how money is earned, invested, saved, and spent. Forensic accountants use multiple methods to trace assets. A few of these methods are listed below:

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