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Kane County divorce lawyerDivorce can be very difficult for a number of reasons. It can often become fairly contentious when a former couple must battle for custody of their children, but what about their pets? Although laws tend to look at pets as a form of property, many people consider their pets to be valued and loved members of the family. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the placement of family pets or companion animals depends upon a few different factors.

Is the Pet a Marital Asset?

The placement of the family pet is dependent upon Section 5/503(n) of the IMDMA. This provision of the law explains that if the court finds the pet to be considered a marital asset, it will allocate ownership of and responsibility for the companion animal. This means that one spouse could receive sole ownership of the pet, or both parties could be awarded joint ownership. In making this decision, the court is now obligated to examine the well-being of the animal.

When is a Pet Considered a Marital Asset in Illinois?

A marital asset is usually any property that is acquired after a couple is married, so if the spouses adopted a pet while they were married, it will likely be a factor in the divorce. However, a pet could be considered non-marital property if it was gifted or left as an inheritance specifically to one spouse, or if a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement states that the pet belongs to one spouse alone. If the pet is not considered to be a marital asset, then whoever is the legal owner of it will likely keep it as non-marital property in the divorce. A service animal is also considered to belong to the spouse who benefits from its services.

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st. charles divorce lawyerBusiness assets of any kind can complicate the divorce process, but professional practices present a set of challenges all their own. When a doctor, lawyer, therapist, or any other licensed professional owns their own practice, the business’s success is closely tied to the owner’s efforts. The owner typically relies on the business as their primary livelihood. This can make fairly valuing and dividing the practice during divorce quite difficult. If you or your spouse operates a professional practice, you should be aware of what to expect during the divorce process.

Is the Practice Marital Property?

You might assume that a professional practice belongs only to the spouse who founded it, but in reality, this depends in large part on when the practice was established. If it was already in existence before the marriage began, it will most likely be excluded from the marital estate. However, if the practice was established during the marriage, it will most likely be considered marital property for which both spouses could have a claim during the divorce process.

This issue can be more complicated if you have invested marital assets in a professional practice that would otherwise be considered non-marital property, or if your spouse has contributed to the practice’s success through their own personal efforts. Even if the practice retains its non-marital status, you may need to reimburse your spouse appropriately during the divorce process. 

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St. Charles divorce attorney Hiding Assets

When a couple is going through a divorce, they are both required to provide the other with details of their individual finances. Each party is required to fill out a financial affidavit – under the penalty of perjury – that is also filed with the court.

It is not uncommon in these situations for one or both spouses to be resentful about sharing this information with the other spouse and may decide not to disclose all of their assets. However, if a person is caught hiding assets in a divorce, the penalties could be far more costly than if they had just told the truth.

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St. Charles family law attorney property division

When a couple is going through a divorce, property and asset division is often one of the most important concerns. It can also be a very difficult one, especially if the couple has amassed significant assets and/or property during their marriage. The first step your divorce attorney will take is assessing what should be deemed marital property and what should be deemed nonmarital property. While this may seem fairly straightforward, it is not uncommon for spouses to disagree on what is and is not marital property.

Marital Property Versus Premarital Property

Under Illinois divorce law, property that is acquired and owned during the marriage is considered marital property. However, property that you acquired and owned prior to marriage is considered your premarital property. This property is not considered part of the divorce and should be immediately transferred to the person who originally owned the property. There is one caveat, however, and that is if there was an increase in the value of the premarital property during the marriage, that increase may then be considered a marital possession.

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St. Charles divorce attorney property division

For business owners, the division of marital property required in the Illinois divorce process can be challenging regardless of their spouse’s involvement or role in the business. However, if you and your spouse are business partners as well as life partners, the process becomes even more complicated. In order to ensure a fair outcome that protects your interests, you should work with an experienced divorce attorney who can advise you on the implications of your decisions.

Are Businesses Considered Marital Property in Illinois?

While a business that you owned prior to your marriage may be considered your personal, non-marital property, a business that you or your spouse founded or acquired during your marriage is usually considered marital property, even if the other spouse is not involved. If you and your spouse started or purchased a business together during your marriage, there is no question that it will be an important consideration in the division of marital property, and the same is likely true if your spouse became a partner in a business that you already owned. You may even have a business contract that further defines the terms of your partnership outside of your marital relationship, and such a contract will likely influence your options for dividing the business in your divorce.

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St. Charles divorce attorney property division

Arguments over finances are a contributing factor in many divorces, and when money is already a contested issue, it can be concerning to consider that you and your spouse will have to divide your assets and debts as part of your divorce resolution. However, you may find it reassuring that not all property belonging to you or your spouse is subject to division. In Illinois, anything that is considered non-marital property will most likely stay with the person to whom it belongs.

Identifying Non-Marital Property

While you might take comfort in knowing that you can hold onto your non-marital property during your divorce, it can be a challenge to determine which assets and debts are considered non-marital. Under Illinois law, properties that are often defined as non-marital include:

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St. Charles divorce attorney asset and property division

Divorce can require you to do a number of things that you likely never expected when walking down the aisle. If you have children, your primary concerns are probably focused on creating a healthy and fair parenting plan. For those who have a family business, you may be concerned about how this will be divided between you and your spouse. Some of the divorce determinations may be unique based on your family’s circumstances, but one area that every divorce requires to be addressed is the division of marital property. Whether you have been married five months or five years, anything accumulated during that time is considered marital property and must be divided equitably according to Illinois state law. Many couples’ largest asset is the home that they have built together and it can be the most difficult belonging to “divide.” Since an apartment or house cannot physically be cut in half, there are other means that can be taken to determine what is fair.

What Is an Appraisal?

In order to properly determine the current value of your home, one should seek out a professional who specializes in such work. The price at which you bought your home is unlikely to be its current value and looking at the cost of homes in your neighborhood is not enough for a true estimate. An appraisal provides homeowners with the value of their home based on prices in the area and the features of your house. An appraiser will come into your home to complete an inspection of the property. They will look at all of the work you have put into your home and all of the features that elevate its value. The professional will then factor in recent sale prices of homes in your area and use both numbers to provide you with the true market value of your home. 

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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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St. Charles divorce attorneyAny divorce can come with myriad complications that can create stress not only for those going through the legal process but also for any children and other family members involved. When there is a business involved, things can become even more stressful with many factors for the court to consider. Before discussing the business valuation in a divorce with your spouse, heading into mediation hearings, or making requests of the court, you should understand how a divorce can impact your business and how a business can impact your divorce. 

Reaching a Mutual Decision

Open communication is encouraged when two parties are seeking a divorce. If you own a business, whether it is considered marital property or not, discussing the business and its assets with your ex can mean much fewer headaches in the future. Reaching an agreement concerning who owns or runs the business as well as making other vital decisions without needing the courts to decide for you will always be the best option.

Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property

If a mediator or the family court needs to get involved in the process of separating assets, the first thing determined is whether it is marital property or non-marital property. 

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