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Part one: Dividing assets in Illinois from a controlling spouse

12122038_s.jpgThere are financial risks involved when going through a divorce. For example, a spiteful wife could rack up thousands of dollars worth of credit card debt. Or, she could attempt to hide all documents related to her retirement account and any joint accounts, basically trying to get a bigger share in the divorce settlement. And while this can certainly happen in any divorce, it is of particular concern when one spouse is controlling.

However, even though there are risks involved, know there are a number of ways to keep finances in order to try and obtain a fair settlement. 

Illinois is an equitable distribution state when it comes to property division in a divorce. What this means is that assets are not necessarily split 50/50. Just because two names are on an asset does not mean it will be equally divided.

Rather, assets are divided in a way that is intended to be fair. This means several factors can be taken into account, such as how long two people were married for, what the incomes and potential earning capacities are of both spouses and the standard of living established during the marriage. 

Keeping in mind that Illinois is an equitable distribution state; this means it is best to find out about all assets as soon as possible -- in some cases even before asking for the divorce. All bank accounts, joint or otherwise, credit cards, investment accounts and retirement accounts should be accounted for. This means getting copies of everything. In cases where a spouse is controlling and will not turn over the account histories, call the financial institutions directly to try and get them. 

When collecting these transaction histories, if there is concern regarding a spouse trying to hide assets in the divorce, know that the courts will look at the separation date and how much was in the accounts on this date. 

Of course though, when it comes to finances, there is more to trying to leave a controlling spouse than just collecting transaction histories. In our next post we will focus on how to rebuild financially and having the right attitude when dealing with a controlling ex.

Source: USA Today, "Protect your finances while divorcing a bully," Elizabeth MacBride, June 23, 2013

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