Palatine Property Division Attorneys
The basic property division rules in Illinois are quite simple. Property acquired before the marriage or by gift is nonmarital property and everything else is marital property. Marital property must be divided equitably. However, as the old saying goes, the devil is in the details. These simplistic rules cannot possibly cover all property division disputes. As a result, property division disputes are often the most time-consuming and expensive element of a divorce case.
At the Delaney Heckman, our compassionate Palatine property division attorneys understand the complex nature of these disputes as well as your need to resolve these matters as efficiently as possible. So, we always look for permanent, cost-effective solutions that uphold your legal and financial rights. We are usually able to resolve these matters out of court. However, if a trial is necessary, we go to the mat for you.
As mentioned, the general property classification rule is rather basic. However, in most cases, it takes a lot more than a calendar to properly classify property as marital or nonmarital. Unless your Palatine property division attorney gets this portion correct, the property settlement will be hopelessly flawed, and the parties will most likely end up back in court.
Commingling is frequently an issue, especially if the marriage lasted longer than a few months. Sometimes, these problems are real head-scratchers.
Assume Husband bought a classic car prior to the marriage. Thus, the automobile is clearly Husband’s non-marital property. Wife then used part of a wedding gift from her parents to help Husband fix up the car. Similarly, the gift was clearly Wife’s nonmarital property.
The waters are considerably muddier if the couple divorces. Based on additional facts, such as the size of Wife’s gift, the amount of work the car needed, and Husband’s restoration efforts, the car could be Husband’s nonmarital property, Wife’s nonmarital property, or marital property subject to equitable division.
Potential problems like these prompt many couples to execute premarital agreements. Prenups, which can be modified at any time, designate marital and nonmarital property, so there is no expensive and protracted dispute later.
Property Division Factors
“Equitable” is not necessarily the same thing as “equal.” Nevertheless, there is a strong presumption in Illinois family law that equitable divisions are also 50-50 divisions. A Palatine property division attorney can overcome this presumption by introducing substantial evidence on certain points, including:
- Standard of Living During the Marriage: Statistically, divorced men rebuild wealth easier than divorced women. As a result, some women might need a disproportionate property award in order to enjoy a similar standard of living after they divorce. Otherwise, the marriage dissolution would be an unfair financial burden on the wife.
- Relative Earning Capacity of Each Spouse: Somewhat similarly, young, healthy, and well-educated people usually have significant earning power. If there is a discrepancy in any of these areas, a disproportionate property award might be appropriate.
- Custody of Minor Children: Typically, it is in the best interests of the children for them to remain in the family home. Consequently, a property settlement which involves the sale of the marital residence might not be best for the children.
- Agreements Between the Parties: This last point might be the most significant one for Palatine property division lawyers. Most Cook County judges approve most settlement agreements, provided they are not blatantly one-sided and each spouse had an equally strong voice in the process.
Many property divisions include setoffs. For example, a spouse might agree to pay slightly more alimony in exchange for a slightly higher share of a retirement account. That is just one example of the creative solutions we offer at the Delaney Heckman.
Reach Out to a Tenacious Attorney
Marital property must be classified and divided in a way that is fair for all parties. For a free consultation with an experienced Palatine property division lawyer, contact the Delaney Heckman