Reeder & Brown, P.C.



Attorneys to Protect Your Finances in Joliet and Plainfield

The longer you have been married, the more assets you will have accumulated. Determining how ownership of these assets will be handled in the event of a divorce can often be a complicated, emotional matter. The closer you are to retirement, the more challenging it can be to separate your financial affairs from those of your spouse and ensure that you will have the means to support yourself. Your choice of a divorce attorney can have a substantial impact on your post-divorce financial security. Be sure to choose an attorney who is equipped to handle the complexity of your marital estate and who will take the time to make sure that you receive a fair and equitable share of your marital property.

At the law offices of Reeder & Brown, P.C., we understand that dividing up your money and belongings can become a very emotional process. It is not surprising that disagreements over money are the second most common reason for divorce, right after infidelity. The financial decisions that must be made during your divorce may be more complex than any you have had to make before, and they will often require projections of future income potential and an evaluation of the tax consequences that will affect both spouses.

With over 30 years of combined legal experience in matters of divorce and family law, attorneys Reeder & Brown have the skill you need to ensure that all of your income, assets, and debts are properly accounted for in your divorce settlement.

Illinois Requires an "Equitable" Division of Marital Property

Illinois divorce law does not require a 50/50 division of marital property, but rather an "equitable" division that takes many factors into account. We will make sure you fully understand all of the factors that apply to you and your family so that you get your full and fair share of marital assets and no more than your fair share of marital debts. Some of these factors include:

  • Each party's contribution to the acquisition and increase or decrease in value of the property. The "contribution" includes not just earned income but also the contributions of a spouse as a homemaker and caregiver.
  • The relevant economic circumstances of each party. For example, if one spouse has been a stay-at-home parent for 10 years and will provide primary care for the children post-divorce, while the other has a secure career, the stay-at-home spouse may receive a larger share of property to ensure that they will have the resources needed to continue providing care for children.
  • The reasonable opportunity of each spouse for future earnings and asset acquisition. This can take into account factors such as a spouse's age, health, education, vocational skills, and employability.
  • Any claims of dissipation by either spouse.
  • Whether an award of spousal maintenance is being made in lieu of or in addition to an award of property.
  • The value of each spouse's non-marital property.
  • Any child support or spousal support owed or received from a prior relationship.
  • The terms of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
  • Tax consequences, such as capital gains or income taxes that must be paid when appreciated assets are sold or if assets are prematurely withdrawn from a retirement account.

Division of Assets

One of the most important steps in the division of assets is the separation of marital and non-marital property. Any assets that you owned prior to the marriage, along with personal gifts and inheritances, should remain your sole and separate property. Any property acquired in exchange for non-marital assets, such as a business you founded using money you inherited from a relative, should also be considered separate property. Assets acquired during the marriage, including pension benefits and retirement savings accounts obtained through either party's employment, are deemed marital property and are subject to an equitable division.

Once a settlement has been finalized, consult with your lawyer on how to re-title assets such as real estate, cars, boats, and recreational vehicles into the proper name.

Division of Debts

Your lawyer will want to understand the source of all debts that you and your spouse have, whether under one name or both names. Generally, debts acquired during the marriage are considered marital debt, regardless of whose name is on the loan. However, there are situations where debts should be apportioned according to who benefited. As soon as a settlement has been finalized, consult with your lawyer on how to make sure that your name is removed from any loans or debts that are assigned to your spouse.

Here are a few examples of how this can work.

  • Home mortgage. If you took out a mortgage during your marriage to buy your current home, that would be considered marital debt. Couples often decide to sell the marital home, pay off the mortgage, and split the remaining proceeds, and this will ensure that neither party will be obligated to make continuing payments toward this debt. However, if one spouse will keep the home, the other spouse should be taken off the mortgage and receive a share of other assets equivalent to their share of the home's equity. If one spouse used premarital assets to make the down payment on the home, that spouse may negotiate for a larger share of the home's equity.
  • Car loans. If the family has two cars, each spouse typically takes "their" car. If one car is more valuable or has a bigger outstanding loan, the settlement should take this into account.
  • Student loans. Student loan debt acquired prior to marriage generally remains the responsibility of the individual. Student loans acquired during the marriage may be considered marital debts, particularly if the loan funded higher education that brought more income into the marriage and contributed to the accumulation of marital assets.
  • Credit card balances. Even if a credit card was in one spouse's name alone and was taken out prior to the marriage, the outstanding balance could be considered marital debt if the card was used to purchase items for the benefit of the family, such as food and home furnishings. On the other hand, if one spouse racked up a large balance on a joint credit card to buy things for their own personal use, such as jewelry and clothing, that spouse could be required to assume that debt since they will be keeping the items purchased. Spouses should be sure to understand that they will both be obligated to repay balances on joint credit cards, regardless of how these debts are allocated during divorce. That is, if a divorce settlement states that one spouse will be required to pay the balance on a joint credit card, and that person defaults on the debt in the future, the credit card may attempt to collect the debt from the other party. To avoid this, it is usually recommended for spouses to pay off joint credit card debts prior to or during the divorce process, if possible.

Contact Our Joliet Marital Property Division Attorneys

The attorneys of Reeder & Brown, P.C. represent clients in Joliet and throughout Will County, including Shorewood, Bolingbrook, Lockport, Crest Hill, and Plainfield. Contact us today at 815-885-5980 to set up your complimentary consultation.

Back to Top