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Wheaton divorce attorneysThere are many reasons why people get divorced, and one of the most common is financial issues. Arguing over money or frivolous spending can cause a couple to grow apart. In some cases, it may destroy trust and result in the end of the marriage. During the divorce proceedings, anything the spouses owned together will need to be divided between the spouses. This is referred to as the division of marital assets and property. Certain assets might be in the form of retirement accounts, pension plans, or other investments acquired by one or both spouses. However, splitting these types of assets is not as easy as tangible items such as a house, furniture, or vehicles. The process can be complicated, so it is important to understand how they will be distributed according to Illinois divorce law.   

What Is “Equitable Distribution”?

In Illinois, marital property is just about anything the couple acquired during the time they were married. This is different from non-marital property, which are items or assets that one of the spouses owned prior to the marriage. Gifts and inheritance also fall into the non-marital or separate property category. 

Under Illinois law, “equitable distribution” in a divorce means that all the marital property will be divided between the spouses in a fair or equitable way, but not necessarily completely in half. Therefore, it is important to determine what portion of the retirement savings is considered to be marital property and subject to division during the divorce.

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DuPage County divorce attorneysMaking the decision to legally terminate a marriage is a big step. For some people, it might be daunting to think of being single again, especially if they have been married for a long time. There are options that a couple can take if they are not ready to split up permanently. A trial separation is an informal agreement between two spouses that they will live apart for a period of time. Unlike a legal separation, a trial separation is not a legally binding contract, but in both situations, the pair is technically still married in the eyes of the law. In some instances, the married couple may choose to seek counseling to work out their problems during the separation. They may even reconcile and move back in with each other. However, some couples may decide to get a divorce after they are separated. 

Factors to Consider During a Separation

A trial separation begins as soon as one of the spouses moves out of the marital home. This means he or she will have to find a new place to live, whether it be temporary or long term. A couple can decide on the terms of their agreement, which can be flexible since it is not an official legal arrangement. This allows both partners to explore options regarding child-related and marital issues in the event of a divorce later on. 

Some of the important factors to consider in the short and long term following a separation include the following:

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Wheaton divorce lawyersIn divorce law, the term “dissipation” is used to describe property which is wasted during the end of a marriage. With help from a qualified family law attorney, you may be able to be compensated for assets which your spouse dissipated before your marital property was formally divided during divorce. However, not all wasteful spending is considered dissipation. Only situations which meet certain criteria are considered dissipation, and it is important to understand what these criteria are. 

What Types of Spending Are Considered Dissipative?

Many individuals who are in the process of getting divorced have questions about their soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s financial responsibility. However, dissipation refers to a specific situation in which a spouse wastes, misuses, or destroys marital property. The Illinois Supreme Court has specified that dissipation is the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage.”

Dissipated assets include any money or property that was used for the benefit of one of the spouses but did not benefit the other spouse or the marriage in any way. Examples of dissipation may include:

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneysThe realization that your marriage is coming to an end can oftentimes be very difficult to cope with. While this can be true for some cases, a divorce can occasionally result in the individuals coming out much happier based on the promise of a fresh start. When a couple can work together and make compromises on divisions of assets, debt, property and other marital concerns, stress and anxiety can be relieved. It is critical to remember that if children are involved, their needs are more important than anything else, which should be reflected in the agreed upon parenting plan. The divorce process can all depend on how everything is managed, and an amicable outcome can be achieved if the spouses involved can follow these tips:

Tip #1: Do Not Act Inappropriately

Understanding that a divorce affects other people can help with perspective. The actions and emotions you display can have a lasting outcome on friends, family members, children, and the opposing spouse. Saying something that you might regret later could result in your peaceful separation falling apart. 

Coinciding with this, social media may seem like a good platform to vent your frustrations and anger, however this is not recommended. Taking into account all of the relevant factors, an inappropriate post could have severe consequences. It is not uncommon for social media posts to be presented as evidence in divorce cases, often to the detriment of the spouse who posted them.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysA divorce is typically a last resort for a couple who may have tried marriage counseling or therapy in an effort to solve their problems. Illinois recognizes “irreconcilable differences” as the only grounds for divorce, meaning that the marriage is considered beyond repair. While there is no longer a requirement in Illinois for divorcing spouses to live apart, a six-month period of living separately will be taken by the court as proof that there are irreconcilable differences between the parties.

Once the decision to end a matrimonial union has been made, there are legal steps that need to be taken in order to complete the divorce process. Even if a couple works together to come to agreements on financial or child-related issues, there are still obligations each party must meet for the final divorce decree to be issued.  

Divorce Proceedings

Illinois requires residency for a minimum of 90 days before a person can file for divorce. The proceedings are initiated when one spouse (petitioner) files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in his or her county’s court. After the filing, the other spouse (respondent) is served with the petition. The respondent has 30 days to file a response to the petition. If this is not done within the appropriate time period, a judge can enter a default judgment against that spouse. 

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