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DuPage County divorce attorney

Although the coronavirus health crisis has impacted day-to-day living, everything is moving forward in the family law court system. In Illinois, non-essential businesses such as restaurants and shopping malls were closed temporarily but not the judiciary. While many changes have been implemented, the courts have remained open to the public. In light of the stress of being quarantined at home or the loss of income, COVID-19 has placed an enormous strain on relationships, leading many couples to consider filing for divorce. Therefore, if you are wondering if you can obtain a divorce at this time, the answer is absolutely yes.  

Virtual Meeting Options

In order to protect the safety of their clients, many law firms are offering digital services to meet their clients’ legal needs. In the practice area of divorce and family law, this may include consultations with couples over the phone or by video chat. For those firms such as Douglas B. Warlick & Assoc. that offer mediation as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR), spouses may speak with their third-party mediator through various electronic means. This may include video conferencing apps such as Zoom, Go-to Meetings, or FaceTime. However, at the Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Assoc., we also continue to offer face-to-face meetings and personal mediation services, including Collaborative Law.

Geneva family law attorneyFor 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.

Titled Assets

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.

divorce planning, Geneva divorce attorneyGetting a divorce is one of the biggest decisions of your life. Just like with other major decisions, the process will be much smoother if you have a plan. Working with a divorce attorney before you file can help you protect your assets. It can also give you a strategic advantage when you are ready to file.

Gathering Documents

During the course of the divorce, you will need access to a great deal of information. One of the best ways to prepare for a divorce is to gather as much information about your family’s financial situation as possible. This information will help your lawyer come up with a plan of action for dividing the marital assets and may prevent your spouse from hiding any assets after the divorce is filed.

division of property, title, Geneva Family Law AttorneyConsider the following scenario: You and your wife have been for ten years. On your tenth anniversary, you tell your wife that you are thinking about buying a boat. She has no particular interest in boats or being on the water, but she tells you that you make enough money to afford it, so it is no problem. For the next year or two, you save some of each paycheck so that you can pay cash for your new watercraft. The boat is titled in your name and you pay all of the associated expenses. Over the next several years, your wife joins you on the boat only a handful of times, while you use it every other weekend or so. As you approach your 15th anniversary, however, your marriage breaks down and you and your wife agree to divorce. Regardless of anything else, it should seem that the boat is yours, free and clear, right? You paid for it, you used it, and it was all done with your wife’s permission. Well, according to Illinois property division laws, it is not quite that simple.

Marital Property

While you may, in fact, be permitted to keep your boat after your divorce, its value will probably need to be offset by assets or property allocated to your wife. This is due to the boat’s disposition as marital property, despite your name being the only one on the title. In this example, you bought the boat after you were married using your normally-generated income. Under law, property acquired after the marriage, with very few exceptions, and especially property purchased with marital assets—like your income—is part of the marital estate. As such, it is subject to equitable distribution based on the statutorily prescribed considerations.

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