Property division is one of the most challenging aspects of divorce for several reasons. First, it can be difficult for anyone to imagine dividing their property with their soon-to-be ex-spouse, especially if tensions have run high during the marriage. Second, property division can be an extremely tedious and stressful process. Divorcing spouses will need to disclose extensive financial records, perform difficult calculations, and may need to liquidate certain assets. Finally, property division has a lasting impact on both spouses.

If you are preparing for divorce in Metro East, IL, it is essential to understand what the property division process entails and how to prepare for it. An experienced attorney is a great asset to have on your side as you prepare for property division proceedings. An attorney can also eliminate much of the guesswork and guide you through each stage of your divorce case. However, while your Metro East, IL divorce attorney can provide valuable guidance concerning property division in your divorce, it’s best to have a firm understanding of the property division laws of Illinois so you can prepare accordingly.

How Does Property Division Work in a Metro East Divorce?

Illinois enforces an equitable distribution law for divorce. This means that when a couple ends their marriage, they must divide their marital property equitably. It’s important to understand the distinction between “equal” and “equitable.” While community property states require completely equal division of property, equitable distribution states seek the fairest division of assets. Thus, equitable division may not necessarily be entirely equal.

It’s possible for divorcing spouses to privately negotiate property division if they are willing to collaborate on their divorce settlement. Collaborative divorce and mediation have grown to be some of the most popular methods for handling divorce throughout the United States. These alternatives to litigation can potentially save both spouses significant amounts of time and money while handling their divorce proceedings.

When property division is left up to a judge, the judge has the final say concerning what is most equitable for the couple’s divorce. This may sound like a fair and impartial method of settling property division, but the judge’s decision may not necessarily align with either spouse’s expectations. In addition, divorce litigation can be incredibly tedious. Ultimately, it is best for divorcing couples to take full advantage of alternative dispute resolution whenever possible.

Preparing for Property Division in a Metro East, IL Divorce

If you are ready for divorce in Metro East, financial disclosure is one of the most important preliminary steps you will need to complete. You must provide complete and accurate financial records that not only establish your separate property ownership rights, but also demonstrate your portion of the marital property you share with your spouse. In Illinois, “separate” property refers to anything a spouse owned prior to marriage, as well as other property that remains in their sole ownership in divorce. Separate property can include gifts and inheritance from family members as well as real property owned prior to the marriage.

While you may hate the thought of dividing your property with your spouse, the reality is that if you do anything to interfere with the property division process or intentionally hide assets, you face severe legal penalties. In Illinois, it’s possible to face criminal prosecution depending on the scope of the actions you take to avoid honest property division.

Your Metro East, IL divorce lawyer can assist you with the financial disclosure process. They will help you gather the records and documentation you will need to produce to establish your separate property ownership rights, as well as the records pertaining to your marital assets.

Negotiating Equitable Distribution

If you and your spouse litigate your divorce, the judge will have the final say regarding division of your marital property. They may require you to liquidate certain assets and split the proceeds. Alternatively, they may award one spouse a larger share of marital property to reflect differences in income. If you want to have more control over the outcome of property division in divorce, it’s best to pursue alternative dispute resolution. You, your spouse, and your respective attorneys can accomplish this through collaborative divorce, or you can enlist the help of a neutral mediator and take advantage of divorce mediation.

Divorcing couples are usually able to negotiate mutually agreeable property division terms through a private divorce settlement. Your attorney can provide valuable advice during these negotiation sessions, helping you make more informed decisions about your options. An attorney can also help you address potential tax issues and long-term financial concerns. Most couples can complete alternative dispute resolution in much less time than litigation would require.

Revisiting Property Division Post-Divorce

The Illinois family court system acknowledges that life can present unpredictable complications, sometimes affecting the terms of a standing family court order. It is also possible for information to come to light after a divorce is finalized that demands revisiting the divorce order. For example, if a recently divorced spouse discovers their ex hid assets, they should have disclosed in property division proceedings, they have the right to seek rectification of the divorce order.

It’s possible for many post-judgment issues to arise following divorce. If you believe your ex was untruthful or otherwise interfered with property division, your attorney can assist you in filing contempt proceedings against them to hold them accountable. Depending on their actions, contempt could lead to fines, jail time, asset seizure, and a host of other possible penalties. It’s also possible to request a modification to your property division settlement based on information that was overlooked or even an honest calculation mistake.

Get Help from a Metro East Divorce Attorney

Property division can be a contentious and complex issue in any divorce. Thus, it’s vital to secure support and guidance from an experienced Metro East, IL divorce lawyer as you prepare yourself for this process. If you are ready to start compiling financial information to disclose during property division, contact an experienced Metro East, IL divorce attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.