Getting divorced in Cook County is difficult under any circumstances, but divorce can become particularly complicated and contentious when there are issues concerning complex property division. Whenever a couple gets divorced in Illinois, all marital assets and debts must be distributed between the parties. In some cases, the couple can reach an agreement about how the property will be distributed or can negotiate a property settlement. When the parties cannot reach an agreement, however, the court must divide the property in a manner that is fair to both spouses.
If you are considering divorce and are anticipating complicated questions surrounding property division, an experienced Cook County complex property division attorney can assist you.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs property division in Cook County. Property is divided in a divorce based on a theory of equitable distribution. This means that property is divided in a manner that is fair to both parties. In other words, property is divided equitably as opposed to equally. There are some situations in which an equitable distribution is an equal distribution, but this is rarely the case.
Cook County courts only divide marital property, which includes both assets and debts from the marriage. Separate, or nonmarital, property is not subject to division. The following are examples of separate property:
Almost all other property will be marital property that is subject to division.
There are many different situations that we might describe as complex property division. In many cases, complex property division simply involves many different types of property that require valuation, or high-value assets that need to be divided. We handle many different issues in property division, including but not limited to:
In addition to the complications that arise solely as a result of the types of property that need to be divided in a divorce, property division can also be complicated when assets have been commingled.
Commingled property refers to a situation in which separate property has been mixed, or combined, with marital property. For example, one spouse might use money she earned prior to the marriage to invest in a business purchased by both spouses after the marriage. Or, for example, one spouse might choose to deposit money from a savings account that had been separate property into a joint savings account with her spouse.
In some situations, a court can trace out separate property and can classify it appropriately. Other cases, however, can be more difficult.
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