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What Are the Benefits of Keeping Your Marital Home in a Divorce?The marital home is often one of the most prized possessions during a divorce. Being able to keep the home can be a huge win if both spouses want it. However, getting the home also has consequences that may make it less desirable to own. Some divorcees willingly give up their homes or agree to sell them. What are the advantages and disadvantages of getting the marital home in your divorce? Knowing this may determine your strategy for the division of property and other financial issues in your divorce.

The Advantages

Firstly, it is beneficial to have control over a marital property as valuable as a home. You may have already invested time and money into picking out your “dream home” and remodeling it the way you like. You do not know how much it would cost to purchase a similar home and whether you would like it as much as your current home. If your current home is not in your long-term plans, there is still the possibility that it could appreciate in value and earn you more in an eventual sale than you would receive in the divorce.

Children can also be a major factor in whether you want to keep the home. Your children would benefit from being able to live at least part of the time in the home that they are familiar with. They could continue to attend the same schools and see the same friends.

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Five Factors When Dividing Vehicles in a DivorceUnless you live in an area with a robust public transportation system, your vehicle is one of the most essential properties that you own. Thus, your car is one of the more important properties that you will include in your division of property during a divorce. The division may seem straight-forward if you own two vehicles. You each will get one vehicle. However, there are several issues related to your vehicles that you need to consider before completing your divorce:

  1. Is the Vehicle a Marital or Separate Property?: If you purchased the vehicle during your marriage with your shared income, then it is marital property. It may be separate property if you purchased it before your marriage, you received it as a gift, or you managed to pay for it with money that is separate from your marital assets. However, a vehicle you purchased before your marriage can become marital property if your spouse has helped you repay the loan on the vehicle.
  2. Who Gets Each Vehicle?: When you have two marital vehicles, you must decide which vehicle each of you will keep. If you cannot agree on how to divide the vehicles on your own, a divorce court may decide based on who primarily drives each vehicle and how they use the vehicle. For instance, the court may award you a truck that you need for transporting equipment for work.
  3. What Are the Values of the Vehicles?: Vehicles can differ in value depending on their model, age, and condition. If your spouse is getting the more valuable vehicle, you can request compensation in the form of other marital assets. You need a professional appraiser to determine the value of any vehicles that you own, from cars to motorcycles.
  4. Are You Still Paying Off a Loan?: You and your spouse share the debt on a vehicle loan if you cosigned on the loan agreement. Marital debts are equitably divided between spouses in an Illinois divorce. Spouses often agree that the person who keeps the vehicle should be the one who is responsible for the remainder of the loan. However, you can also request that your spouse help you repay the loan if you do not have the financial means to do it on your own.
  5. Whose Name Is on the Title?: Removing or changing the names on your vehicle title is something you must do separately from your divorce. Failing to update the title could cause problems later if you want to sell the vehicle. If your former spouse’s name is still on the title, you cannot sell the vehicle without their permission. You can update your vehicle title by submitting an Application for Vehicle Transaction with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

Contact a St. Charles, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer

Your marital vehicles are one part of the many valuable properties that you must divide during your divorce. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you in negotiating an equitable division that lets you keep the properties you need most. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.

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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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Four Steps for Dividing Retirement Assets in DivorceRetirement assets grow in importance as marital property the longer you are married. If you divorce after several years of marriage, they could be one of the most valuable properties you own. As with all marital properties, you must include your retirement benefits as part of your division of property, and figuring out how to do so will be one of the most complicated parts of the divorce process. In general, there are four steps to determining how you will divide your retirement benefits as part of your divorce agreement:

  1. Valuing Your Benefits: To start, you need to know the current value of your retirement benefits. Retirement accounts are classified as defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans. It is easier to determine the value of a defined contribution plan because it is an individual account that you are paying into. With a defined benefit plan, your retirement benefits are part of a group account that will pay you based on a formula, and estimating its value is based on your life expectancy and the account's interest rates.
  2. Identifying the Marital Portion: Once you know the value of your retirement benefits, you must determine how much of it counts as marital property. The amount that your retirement benefits increased in value during your marriage is the amount that is marital property. Increases can come from your contributions to the plan, interest accrued on your holdings, and investments made with the money. The cut-off date determines when you stop counting increases in value towards your marital property. In Illinois, the date that a couple separates is usually the cut-off date.
  3. Dividing the Benefits: Because Illinois is an equitable division state, you do not have to divide your marital retirement benefits evenly between each other. When a divorce court determines whether the division of retirement benefits is equitable, they will consider the duration of the marriage and the economic resources of each spouse. You may be able to keep all of your retirement benefits in exchange for other marital properties, such as your home.
  4. Transferring Benefits: With many retirement plans, people are entitled to benefits based on being an employee or member of an organization. In order to receive benefits that you would not otherwise be entitled to, you will need a court order to transfer a portion of these benefits. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is for private retirement benefits, such as a business’ retirement plan. A Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order is for retirement benefits provided by the Illinois state government. A Military Retired Benefit Division Order is for anyone who receives retirement pay because of their military service.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

Dividing retirement benefits as part of your divorce may take the combined efforts of your divorce lawyer and a financial professional, such as an actuary. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group will determine how to include your retirement benefits as part of your divorce while still protecting them. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

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Could a Reverse Mortgage Help Your Gray Divorce?It can be difficult to continue to make house mortgage payments on your own after your divorce. However, you may be able to keep your marital home for the foreseeable future if you are able to get a reverse mortgage on your house. Reverse mortgages are available to people who are at least 62 years old and have a large amount of equity in their home – usually at least 50 percent. You use the money you receive from a reverse mortgage to pay off the remainder of what you owe on your home mortgage, with the surplus available for other expenses. Gray divorcees should consider whether a reverse mortgage could help them during the division of property, though there are risks.

How It Works

Assuming that you qualify, you can apply for a reverse mortgage – also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage – with lenders who specialize in this type of loan. The amount of money that you can borrow will increase in conjunction with your age and the value of the property. With a reverse mortgage, you no longer make mortgage payments on your home or payments on the loan as long as you remain in the house. The loan and interest are due when:

  • You die;
  • You decide to sell or leave the home;
  • The home is unoccupied for a stipulated amount of time; or
  • The lender forecloses on your home.

The lender recuperates the money from the reverse mortgage when selling the home. You cannot owe more on the loan than your property is worth, but the lender will protect its investment by requiring you to keep up with property taxes, home owner’s insurance, and maintenance of the property. Failing to meet these standards allows the lender to foreclose on the property.

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