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Chicago Divorce Attorney Handles Equitable Distribution of Property
Under Illinois law, the distribution of marital property follows the equitable distribution process. The goal is not a 50-50 split that we see in community property states. Rather, the court seeks to arrive at a distribution of assets and debt that it views as fair. Of course, parties to a divorce often have very different opinions of what is just, so there can be a great deal of argument. The more wealth you’ve accumulated, the greater the chance for error and the danger that the process will yield an unfair result. At Arami Law, we have extensive experience counseling clients on the distribution of moderate-to-high net worth marital estates in the Chicago area. We’re prepared to fight for your interests at every stage of the case.
Understanding Equitable Distribution in Chicago
The equitable distribution process follows distinct stages. Each of the following aspects has its challenges:
- Identification— This stage involves making a complete inventory of all assets and debts, then designating whether each item is a marital or separate asset or obligation. The first challenge is ensuring that the opposing party has been completely transparent in the financial disclosure and is not attempting to hide assets. The second challenge is examining the origin and use of significant assets to see whether they belong to the marital estate. The general rule is that property and debt acquired prior to the marriage and after a legal separation are separate, whereas property and debt acquired during the union are marital. Gifts and inheritances received during the marriage are separate but can become marital property if they are used for the mutual benefit of the spouses.
- Valuation— A price is placed on each item. This can lead to a battle involving real estate appraisers and financial experts. Assets that are difficult to evaluate include ongoing businesses, professional licenses and practices, real estate, retirement benefits, and stock options.
- Distribution— The court relies on several factors when deciding how to make a fair distribution, including the length of the marriage, any written agreement signed before or during the marriage that concerns property, the income and earning potential of each spouse, and the contribution of each spouse toward the acquisition or dissipation of assets. For example, if one spouse worked for years while the other earned a professional degree, the judge must determine how much ownership of the professional practice the supporting spouse deserves.
The Illinois divorce process becomes very complex when the spouses have significant wealth or financial obligations. The divorce attorney you retain should have successfully managed the distribution of marital estates that are equivalent in size to yours.
Contact Our Chicago Attorney for Capable Management of Equitable Property Distribution
Get your fair share from the equitable distribution process. For reliable representation of moderate-to-high net worth estates, contact Arami Law today at (312) 584-6355 or online. Our firm serves clients inside the Loop and throughout Chicago, Illinois.
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