Dividing the Toys: Who Gets the Boat or the Vacation Home?
For many couples, dividing marital property is the most difficult element of the entire divorce process. To a certain extent, it is understandable that a pair who has spent many years together would find it challenging to how to divide assets that belonged to both spouses for so long. This may be especially true for spouses who married young with almost nothing, then spend the next several decades amassing a significant amount of wealth and net-worth. When such a marriage comes to an end, determining who will get what can be long and cumbersome process.
The first step in dividing marital property is deciding what actually is marital property. According to Illinois law, almost anything acquired by either spouse during the marriage is marital property and subject to division in divorce. Exceptions include gifts and inheritances to one spouse alone. This means that even assets for which a title is issued, such as a vacation home, a vehicle, or boat, are considered marital property if they were purchased after the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title.
Negotiating Can Protect Sentimental Value
Once you and your spouse—and the court, if necessary—have identified the marital estate, each asset must be assigned a value. This may require the help of various professionals and appraisers, but must be done to ensure an equitable final outcome. It is important to realize, however, that valuation experts and the courts may not realize the sentimental value a particular asset has to you.
For example, your small cabin in the woods near a secluded lake may have a market value of much less than that of the large SUV you and your spouse bought a few years ago. The peace and solitude of the cabin, however, may be worth much more to you than the vehicle. On paper, it may not seem like an equitable trade-off, but if it works for you and you and your spouse there is no problem. In situations like these, a willingness to negotiate can give you both power that you would be forced to surrender to the court in a litigation.
Geneva Equitable Distribution Lawyer
When left to the courts, marital property will be divided in a manner that is equitable and just, not necessarily equally. During the process, however, it is important to have an advocate on your side to ensure that your rights are fully protected. Contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney today to discuss your case and find out how we can help you get the property settlement you deserve.