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b2ap3_thumbnail_dissipation-wasting-money-divorce-broke.jpgDivorce can happen after three years or 30 years of marriage. Every relationship is unique, and there are many factors that cause the breakdown of a relationship. Some of these may include adultery, addiction, financial problems, and even mental health issues. In some cases, a spouse may be blindsided by the news that his or her partner wants to end the marriage. Divorce under the best of circumstances can be challenging, so for those individuals who are not prepared, it can be overwhelming. 

There are many issues that need to be resolved, including how all the couple’s possessions will be divided. Unfortunately, this can be a contentious process, especially when one party is not being truthful. The dissipation of assets occurs when one spouse intentionally squanders or destroys marital property to prevent the other spouse from getting his or her fair share of the marital estate.

Examples of How Assets Are Dissipated

In order for a court to find someone guilty of dissipation, the spending must be wasteful, excessive, and without the other spouse’s knowledge or approval. It is also important to note that this means it is only benefitting one spouse while the marriage is going through an irreconcilable breakdown. Dissipating marital assets or property can take different forms. Here are a few examples of the most common actions that constitute such behavior: 

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Kane County divorce attorneysNo couple really expects to get a divorce when they first enter into a marriage, but unfortunately, not all partners live happily ever after. In some cases, people slowly grow apart for various reasons, causing a relationship to deteriorate over time. In other situations, one spouse may abruptly leave and file for divorce, leaving the other spouse shocked. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a divorce, there are many issues the two parties will have to resolve before they can legally end their union. A divorce decree is a legal document that specifies the court’s final ruling on matters as well as any judgment orders that make the termination of a marriage official. However, in certain situations, it may be possible to appeal a judgment handed down by the court if you feel it was made erroneously. In other words, an appeal is a formal request of the court to set aside a judgment and hear the case again.   

Divorce-Related Issues That May Be Eligible for Appeal 

A request to change a court’s ruling is called an appeal. The right to appeal is included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. It is important to note that someone cannot appeal a decision simply because he or she does not agree with it. An appeal is used to address a procedural mistake, a judge’s incorrect interpretation of the law, the admissibility of evidence, or how the law related to the initial proceedings. For example, it is possible for a judge to miscalculate a spouse’s available resources when determining spousal or child support order amounts. In other cases, insufficient evidence may have been presented during the initial court proceedings, resulting in unfair bias toward one spouse. 

The individual who challenges a court’s decision is known as the “appellant,” and the other party is called the “appellee.” When someone appeals a ruling, the case goes to appellate court instead of going back to trial. It is important to note that a person has up to 30 days after the ruling to file an appeal.

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Kane County divorce lawyersIn a divorce, the marital home is a considered a piece of property. As with all property in a divorce, the couple must consider what will happen to the home once the marriage is officially over. Due to its value and the fact that a home cannot truly be divided, divorcing spouses will often need to be creative in deciding how the home will be accounted for in the asset distribution process.

Separate and Marital Property

Under Illinois law, property in a divorce is classified in one of two ways: separate and marital. Separate property is any asset or debt that was owned by one person prior to the marriage. These types of property are generally not subject to division in a divorce, though there may be exceptions. 

On the other hand, marital property is any property or debt acquired during the marriage by either spouse, with limited exceptions for gifts and inheritances to one spouse. In most cases, the marital home is considered marital property.

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Kane County Hidden Assets LawyerPrior to filing for divorce, a devious spouse may try to hide assets either to capture a greater share of the marital estate out of greed or fear of future financial insecurity or to prevent their spouse from getting a fair share out of spite. This is more likely to happen when certain conditions exist. If any of the conditions discussed below exist in your marriage, then be sure to alert your divorce lawyer about your concerns. Your attorney may recommend hiring a forensic accountant who can study several years’ worth of your tax returns, bank statements, and other financial records to uncover evidence of hidden assets.

When to Be Concerned About Hidden Assets

Some conditions that create greater opportunity for assets to be hidden include:

  • Wealth. In a high-income, high-asset divorce, assets may be spread across numerous investment accounts, real estate holdings, and expensive personal property such as antiques, jewelry, and boats. A couple may also have multiple sources of income. The more complicated the marital estate, the more options a spouse has for hiding places. A devious spouse could also try to argue that parts of the estate are actually their separate property, acquired before marriage, by gift, or by inheritance.

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St. Charles prenup attorneyWhen you enter into a marriage, you are promising to share everything you have with your partner. Sadly, not all marriages will end happily ever after. A divorce can be a messy process, but if a prenuptial agreement is put into place before a union, the process of dividing assets during divorce can be made more simple.

According to the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, a prenuptial agreement is a written agreement signed by both partners planning to enter into a marriage. Both parties must be comfortable with the agreement without pressure from either side.

What Does a Prenuptial Agreement Protect?

A prenuptial agreement is a tool that will specify how a couple’s businesses, finances, or property would be divided between the two parties should a divorce happen. When creating a prenup, both parties are required to fully disclose their respective finances to each other to ensure that they have a full understanding of their financial situation and can weigh this information when making decisions about how to divide assets. Once all assets have been identified, the parties may decide what happens to each asset and whether specific assets will be considered marital property that must be divided during divorce or separate property owned by one spouse.

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