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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Protecting Assets in High Net Worth Divorces

Posted on in Division of Property

Illinois divorce lawyerWhen two people with significant assets decide to divorce, they may encounter issues that do not appear in a divorce involving very little marital property, not least of all with asset division. People who marry with high-value assets in their possession will understandably want to take steps to ensure that they retain them, rather than having them be part of the equal distribution that makes up a marriage. There are multiple ways to do this under Illinois law.

Prenups in Illinois

Prenuptial agreements are the most common way to protect assets for most couples. Illinois law is fairly straightforward regarding them, holding that they are enforceable unless made under duress, or if one party’s signature was obtained through fraudulent means. There must be a full accounting of each party’s financial information before it can be deemed that both spouses have enough information to properly execute the agreement. Coercion is also sometimes an issue, and a court will look at the timing of the agreement and of both signatures - for example, if a wife is only given one week before the wedding to examine and sign a prenup despite having extensive assets, coercion on the part of the husband may be indicated.

It is permissible to contract under these agreements regarding almost anything that is not against the law, or against the public policy of the state of Illinois. However, there are issues that spouses will try to contract for that the court will not allow. For example, child support may not be contracted for, because it is a right that belongs to the child, not the parent - thus, any child of the marriage is not technically born at the time of the agreement’s creation, so their rights cannot vest.

Protecting Assets

In addition to a prenuptial agreement, another way to protect your assets during a divorce is to make certain that you have provenance for assets that were given to you as gifts or family heirlooms. Under Illinois law, such assets count as separate property, unless they are commingled with marital property (such as paychecks - for example, using marital money to improve a separate asset like an automobile or business), and even then, a court may determine that the asset is still separate if there is a lack of intent to commingle.

Keep in mind that depending on your financial status, there may not be any need to sell or otherwise lose personal assets. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, and this means that marital assets will be divided not down the middle, but in the most equitable (fair, or appropriate) manner. There are several factors a court will consider in determining the division of marital assets, including current and future earning potential of both spouses and whether or not one spouse will require retraining in order to rejoin the workforce, and it is plausible that separate assets will simply stay with those who brought them to the marriage.

Asset Division Attorneys in DuPage County

Dividing the assets of a marriage, especially a long and productive one, is one of the most contentious and difficult topics covered in most divorce proceedings. If you are confused or have questions about how this will be done, Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. may be able to assist. Contact our skilled DuPage County divorce lawyers today to set up an appointment.




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