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Kane County family law attorneysYou have worked very hard for many years to accumulate significant assets which you assumed would fund your retirement. Whether you have a fully-vested pension plan, 401(k), IRA, or other investments accounts, those funds will likely be waiting for you when you retire—unless you get divorced. Retirement investments, like any other asset, may be considered marital property and, therefore, would be subject to division between you and your spouse in the event of divorce. There are several ways in which retirement accounts may be considered in divorce, including one that may require the use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO.

Dividing or Offsetting

Depending upon when you first began contributing to your retirement funds, all of your investments may not be subject to division. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, only the portion that accumulated during your marriage is considered marital property. You might need the help of a financial professional to establish the value of the investment prior to the marriage, so that only the correct portion is considered during the divorce process. Once that has been done, you, your spouse, and the court need to determine how, or even if, the investments will be divided.

If you and your spouse possess other significant assets such as homes, vehicles, or non-retirement savings, you may be able to negotiate a deal in which you keep your entire retirement investment. This could be even more likely if each of you already has a separate pension or 401(k). Instead of complicating matters by splitting benefits that will not be payable for years, you may, for example, be permitted to keep your pension, while your spouse is allocated a larger share of your marital cash holdings.

Posted on in Property Division

Kane County divorce attorneysDivorce among the baby boomer generation is more common now than ever before. According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, divorces among married couples 50 and over doubled from 1990 to 2014. Over the same period, divorces among couples 65 and older tripled. Divorce among older couples has unique challenges. One important issue that older divorcees face is divvying up retirement accounts. Older Americans have a smaller window to earn after they divorce, so retirement accounts are a commonly fought over topic.

How Are Retirement Investments Divided?

Regardless of who saved more, retirement accounts are often split evenly, or close to it, when a couple divorces. Attorneys say that in a large majority of divorce cases, retirement accounts are considered marital property, and funds that were saved up to support one household must be divided to support two individuals. “There are a number of people who say ‘I have socked away every month and I do not see why I have to divide it with my spouse,” says Joslin Davis, former president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. “The law says ‘too bad.’”

Geneva divorce attorneysThere are a great many things to consider when a couple decides to get divorced. In addition to dealing with the emotional turmoil of ending their marriage, they also have to face decisions regarding logistics like property division. If you have been considering divorce, you may have wondered to yourself “Who will get to continue living in the house?” or “Who will get the antique furniture?”

Determining Who Will Get What

In many marriages, spouses have brought assets into the marriage that were valuable either financially or sentimentally. They worry that the court will assign such assets to their spouse. In other cases, a spouse may not have worked because they stayed home to raise children. He or she may wonder if this will affect the way property is divided. The law regarding property division in Illinois can be complicated, but there are guidelines that courts use when making decisions about property division. The following are some of the foremost factors courts use to decide how property and assets are divided in a divorce:

Kane County divorce attorneyDivorce is complex; however, dividing property is often the most complicated aspect of a process that can take a long time. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the procedure for valuing and dividing a family-owned business. Between personal preferences and the market rates, dividing the value of a business will often create major issues during the proceedings.

Valuation Basics

During a divorce, Illinois courts only have the ability to divide marital property. A family business usually qualifies if it is run by both spouses, or if one spouse owns a controlling interest—the rationale is that the spouse working there will bring home paychecks earned by improving the business’s value. If the business is deemed marital property, it must be valued so that it and the couple’s other assets can be divided equitably.

Geneva divorce attorneyWhen we were children, we were taught that the fairest way to divide things between two people is to split them equally. If each person gets an equal share of the treats or important items, in theory, no one can complain about inequality. There are, however, situations in life where equal distribution is not actually the fairest choice. Illinois and many other states prefer the theory of equitable distribution when it comes to marital assets during a divorce. While this approach can cause some obstacles in divorce asset division, it is generally worth the trouble.

Trends in State Law

There are different methods that divorce courts may use to divide the assets acquired during a marriage. As a general rule, most state courts favor property settlements that allow both spouses to live as close to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage as possible, and depending on the amount of assets between the parties, this may not be possible in many situations.

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