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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700

Illinois divorce lawyerDuring an Illinois divorce, the division of marital property is very often complex and divisive. One asset that can spark significant debate is each spouse’s retirement account or accounts, simply because the process to divide such an account can be laborious, and each spouse wants to ensure that division is fair and above board. Having an understanding of how a retirement account is divided can go a long way toward quelling arguments before they start.

QDROs

With most private retirement accounts, the proceeds are normally only payable to the listed beneficiary - at times, the employee who earned it; at times, the spouse, at times, someone else. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) covers 401(k)s and mandates that only one’s spouse may be the beneficiary, although Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are not covered by ERISA.

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Illinois divorce lawyerEvery marriage accumulates assets, classified as marital property, that must be divided upon divorce. However, the division process for assets that have significant value can get much more complex, simply because there must be a more thorough balancing of assets and debts in order to make sure that both spouses get a fair share, rather than leaving one spouse with the lion’s share of the property and one with the debts. It is important to have a good grasp of the process, so you can be doubly sure that you are not being given the proverbial short end of the stick.

Each Asset Is Different

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about this process of asset division is that each situation is different, as well as each couple. Some of the most common high-value assets include family businesses, retirement accounts, real property, and stakes in corporations, and all of these must be handled differently. Even more factors enter into the equation when one assesses each spouse’s role in acquiring or maintaining the asset, as well as numerous other factors generally considered by the court in every asset division.

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Illinois divorce attorneyMediation is not the ideal way for every couple to divorce. Couples who cannot communicate effectively and those who do not trust each other are not suited to this method of ending a marriage.

You might need a slight perspective adjustment to make yourself a good candidate for mediation. Mediation works for couples who are willing to put in the effort to make it work. If you are not sure how to conduct yourself at your divorce mediation sessions, discuss your concerns with your lawyer and keep the following tips in mind.

Do Not Talk Over your Spouse or the Mediator

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Posted on in Child Custody

Illinois divorce attorneyWhen parents split up, it is not always done with a complete plan in place as to how the couple will share time with the children or parental responsibility. This can sometimes lead to disagreements as to which parent will keep the children and how often the other parent will see them. These disagreements are best settled with a court order, and parents can file for an emergency order while the divorce is pending.

Because both parents have parental rights when it comes to their children, unless a court has previously terminated those rights, each parent has a right to keep the children when the parents are separated. For example, the parents have an informal agreement that the children will stay in the marital home with the mother and visit the father. If the father takes the children for a visit and then decides not to return the children to their mother, the mother would have little recourse without going to court.

Even if the mother calls the police, the police are unlikely to take any action unless the children are in danger. Because both parents have legal rights to have physical custody of the children, the father is not technically breaking any law by keeping the children. The father is only breaking the terms of the informal agreement with the mother.

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Posted on in Business Valuation

Illinois divorce attorneyWhen a couple decides to divorce, the assets and debts accumulated during their marriage will be equitably distributed to each party. Sometimes this means that assets are sold off so that they can be converted into liquid funds. On the other hand, Illinois law permits one party to be awarded the asset in lieu of receiving other marital assets. Dividing assets in the latter fashion is a very complex process if a family business exists. Ensuring that a proper valuation is reached so the business asset may be offset by other marital assets is a time-consuming and difficult process that requires the use of experts.

Illinois is a state that follows the equitable distribution theory of marital asset allocation in a divorce. What is a marital asset? Generally speaking, a business is classified as a marital asset if it was acquired during the marriage, and was not acquired by inheritance or gift. (Inheritances or gifts to one spouse are considered non-marital property by definition.) What is considered an equitable distribution? Each case is very different. Rather than simply selling all the assets and splitting the proceeds, some parties may prefer to be awarded a particular asset in lieu of another asset. A business, assuming that it is a marital asset, is no exception to this process. Sometimes one spouse wishes to keep the business, especially if it is a professional practice like a doctor’s office. A party may do so, but he/she will have to give up other marital assets in exchange for it. This means that an expert must place a value on the business before an equitable distribution of marital assets may be reached. .

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