Complex Property Division Attorney Arlington Heights
When younger couples divorce, emotional issues, like child custody, are usually at the forefront. When older couples divorce, property division matters often take center stage. That is especially true if the couple has a high net worth or operates a business. Illinois law requires all marital property to be divided equitably, but that is a lot easier said than done.
The proactive Arlington Heights complex property division attorneys at the Delaney Heckman take the bull by the horns in these situations. Our professional team aggressively stands up for your legal and financial rights, both in the courtroom and in the negotiating room. This assertive posture often produces results that exceed our clients’ expectations.
In many complex property division matters, the division itself is not nearly as difficult as the classification. Legally, marital property is any asset or debt acquired during the marriage, unless the property was a gift. That definition seems straightforward, but there is a considerable grey area.
Assume Husband owned a semi-successful landscaping business prior to the marriage. Wife left her job as a retail manager to manage the landscaping business, and under her watch, the business thrived. If the couple divorces, everything the landscaping business owns, along with all its revenue, could be Husband’s nonmarital property, Wife’s nonmarital property, or marital property subject to equitable division.
Commingling occurs in other contexts as well, such as spouses who use money from their paychecks (marital asset) to pay their student loans (nonmarital debt).
Hiding property is another common issue in high-asset divorce cases. Typically, marriage dissolution occurs slowly over time as the couple drifts apart. In these situations, unscrupulous spouses have an opportunity to conceal assets. It is important for an Arlington Heights complex property division attorney to locate all marital and nonmarital property. Otherwise, even though the division might not be equitable, it is almost impossible to reopen a closed case.
Telltale signs of concealment include things like correspondence addressed to unfamiliar LLCs or other corporate entities, unusual electronic funds transfers, and changes in account alerts or bill paying.
Division Factors to Consider
Once property is identified, it must be divided. Arlington Heights complex property division attorneys must be mindful of the division factors in court and during settlement negotiations. Legal arguments which concentrate on the factors often resonate with the judge, and most judges will not approve settlements which do not uphold key factors like:
- Length of the marriage.
- Awards of nonmarital property.
- Spousal maintenance award.
- Custody of minor children.
- Standard of living during the marriage.
- Agreements between the parties.
That last bullet might be the most important one. Generally, Cook County judges approve most premarital and other spousal agreements, provided they are not entirely one-sided and each party had an independent Arlington Heights complex property division attorney.
Family-owned businesses have both classification and division issues. It is often difficult to ascertain the value of a business, especially since not all business property is marital property. Furthermore, in many cases, a division is not the best alternative. Other options include a buyout, setoff, or continued joint operation.
Contact a Dedicated Lawyer
Many divorce property settlements involve intricate classification and division issues. For a free consultation with an experienced complex property division attorney in Arlington Heights, contact the Delaney Heckman After-hours appointments are available.