Common Complications in Chicago Area Asset Division

Common Complications in Chicago Area Asset Division

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

Dividing marital assets in a Chicago area divorce can be overly complicated in certain circumstances. In all divorce cases, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs issues of property division. Under Illinois law, during a divorce property is divided according to the rule of equitable distribution. This means the courts divide property in a manner that is fair to both spouses.

It is important to understand that “equitable” does not mean equal, but rather means fair. In dividing property in an equitable manner, the court considers many different factors and considers specific factors in each case. However, in many divorces, complications arise as the court is dividing marital property. The following are common complications that can arise during asset division in a Chicago area divorce.

Property is Commingled

Commingled property is one of the most common complications that can arise in asset division during a Chicago area divorce. What is commingled property? It is property that has characteristics of both separate (“non-marital”) property (which is not divisible) and marital property (which is divisible). In other words, it is property in which separate assets have been mixed with marital assets.

How does this happen? It is more common than you might think. For example, one of the spouses might have a savings account they opened prior to the marriage, and they might dip into that savings account to put a down payment on a home they and their new spouse plan to purchase. Over the course of their marriage, they make mortgage payments and pay for home improvements with marital assets. By the time one of them files for divorce, that marital home has become an example of commingled property.

Property is Complicated or Difficult to Value

Some types of property can be difficult to value without assistance from an expert appraiser. High-value assets that are uncommon, or that have frequently fluctuating market values, can pose complications when it comes to the equitable distribution of marital assets. For example, art can fluctuate significantly in market value over time, and it is often necessary to work with an appraiser who can provide clear information about recent auction estimates and the ways in which the market value of the sculpture or painting has shifted over time.

Some Assets Have Been Hidden or Concealed

When one spouse attempts to hide marital assets to avoid having them distributed in a divorce, the case can become quite complicated. In such scenarios, it is often necessary to bring a forensic accountant onto your divorce team to locate any hidden assets and to help ensure all property is accurately accounted for and distributed in your divorce case.

Seek Advice from a Chicago Area Asset Division Attorney

Going through a divorce is difficult under any circumstances, but it can be particularly complicated when you have complex assets to divide. If you need assistance with your divorce case, one of the experienced Chicago asset division lawyers at our firm can help. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC to learn more about the services we provide in the Chicago area.