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Kane County divorce attorneysDissipation of assets refers to instances when a spouse who is either in the process of getting divorced or will soon divorce, purposely wastes marital assets. If you are getting divorced and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse has wasted marital assets through reckless spending, gambling, drug use, or through other means, you should know that there is a legal process for recovering these funds. Read on to learn the specific criteria which must be met in order to claim dissipation, as well as learn how you can reclaim the money that was wasted.

Dissipation in Illinois Defined

Not just any type of spending is considered dissipation. The spending must happen during a specific time and meet other criteria in order to be considered dissipative. The Illinois Supreme Court provides the legal definition of dissipation. In Illinois, dissipation is the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time that the marriage is undergoing an irreconcilable breakdown.”

Geneva divorce lawyersWhen it comes to the idea of a “separated” couple, there are two generally accepted definitions. The first is the one which you are probably most familiar: a couple who is unsure whether they should remain married or who has decided to pursue a divorce may describe themselves as separated because they are not currently living together.

The second definition is more formal and much less common, and it refers to a couple who has gone through the formalities of obtaining a judgment of legal separation. Under Illinois law, neither type of separation is a prerequisite for divorce, but a legal separation could be beneficial in certain situations.

An Important Date

Geneva property division lawyersIf you are considering divorce, you may be worried about how you and your spouse’s combined property will be divided. You may have seen television or movies where a spiteful spouse takes their former partner for everything, leaving the other spouse destitute. Luckily, the reality of property division during divorce is much more reasonable. Illinois courts distribute property and assets according to “equitable distribution” laws, which means that although property may not be divided 50/50, it will be divided justly.

What Is Considered Marital Property?

Not every asset that a spouse owns is eligible to be divided during a divorce according to Illinois laws. Only marital property, which is most property acquired during the marriage, will be equitably allocated between the spouses. This is not as simple as it may seem, however. For example, if a person is awarded a cash inheritance from a deceased relative, this money is considered separate property. It cannot be divided up during divorce. However, if the individual adds that money to a joint banking account or uses it to pay family bills, it becomes marital property and therefore is subject to division.

Kane County property division lawyersWhen a couple decides to divorce, the standard procedure is to compile a list of all marital assets and distribute them equitably between the spouses. However, sometimes things do not go according to plan. A spouse may hide assets, sell them, or even engage in dissipation. You must be aware of what constitutes improper conduct so that your divorce proceeds as smoothly as possible.

Hiding Assets

In most states, Illinois included, a temporary restraining order may be placed on both parties at the beginning of a divorce proceeding. This order prevents disposing of any marital assets in any way and is generally recommended if either spouse suspects the other will engage in unethical behavior. The rationale is that marital property is the property of both people in the marriage, and one spouse disposing of assets breaches the covenant both people entered into when they got married. Most of the time, these orders only apply to marital property; items not classified as such (in other words, as personal property) may generally be sold freely.

Geneva divorce attorneyAs you probably realize, all marital assets must be divided between the spouses during a divorce, unless the asset has been addressed beforehand, such as in a prenuptial agreement or other contract. This includes intangible assets, such as patents, royalties, and business goodwill. It is very easy to become confused when dealing with intangible assets, and consulting an attorney may help clear up some of your questions.

Important Definitions

An intangible asset is simply an asset with no physical form. One may be able to see the effects of the asset’s possession, such as elevated goodwill, brand awareness, increased income, and the like, but the asset itself has no physical or transportable form. Most of the time, these assets are treated in a similar way to any tangible piece of marital property, but there are exceptions.

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