Property and Debt Division During Divorce: What You Need To Know
Dividing and Distributing Marital Property and Debt is One of the Most Complex Aspects of Any Divorce
When either you or your spouse decides to file for divorce, one of the first and most common concerns that may come to mind is the division of property. To be sure, this is typically one of the most contentious issues in any divorce as you take all of your belongings and assets and must agree on what you will take and what will be left to your former spouse.
At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we understand that the division of marital property can be an emotional, difficult issue in your divorce. All too often, spouses want the same family keepsakes and memories, only making a divorce more difficult and tolling on everyone involved.
We are fully committed to representing the best interests of our clients in all marital property division, whether emotional or financial in nature, to guarantee your future comfort and well-being.
What is the Difference Between Marital and Non-Marital Property?
There is a stark difference between marital and non-marital property. Distinguishing between the two is essential to ensure you maintain access to assets you acquired before the marriage and are given a fair chance at equitable distribution of marital assets during a divorce.
The terms marital and non-marital property are often confusing. That’s because these assets don’t include just physical assets but also refers to resources such as:
- Businesses and business interests
- Stocks and stock options
- Retirement, bank, and investment accounts
Of course, marital property may also include physical property like:
- Real estate, including the marital residence and any investment properties acquired during the marriage
- Furniture, artwork, and other physical items within the marital residence or other properties
Non-marital property also plays a prominent role in divorces. Some spouses will try to establish non-marital property as marital property, making it subject to division. However, spouses are entitled to non-marital assets, including:
- Assets acquired before the marriage
- Assets bought using non-marital assets
- Assets identified as non-marital in either a pre- or post-nuptial agreement
Depending on how assets are treated after a marriage (and if spouses are added to deeds or other assets), some non-marital property may become marital property.
Determining the Value of Marital Property Can Also be Difficult
Once all marital and non-marital property is established, there’s still an issue: Actually valuing the marital asset. In fact, determining the value of complex assets such as retirement accounts, stock options, and businesses can be time-consuming and obscure to most individuals.
At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we work closely with trusted business evaluators, accountants, appraisers, and other experts to ensure the accuracy of all marital property values. Doing so makes it simple to better understand the value of what each spouse is receiving to ensure it is fair, as Illinois law regarding the equitable division of property dictates.
Contact Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. to Discuss Marital Property in Your Divorce
Asset division is a complex, highly contested issue in almost all divorces. For this reason and others, it’s important to partner with a law firm that will represent your best interests and ensure you receive the fair and justifiable share of marital assets you’re entitled to.
If you have questions regarding the potential division of your marital property or would like to take advantage of a free, 30-minute consultation with Larry, contact our team at 630-470-9990. You may also ask a question or request a consultation using our convenient online form.
We look forward to speaking with you to better explain property division and address your concerns regarding the matter in your potential separation.
Division of Debt During Divorce: What You Need To Know
Like Most Matters in Your Divorce, the Division of Debt Depends on a Number of Factors
If you’re like most couples, you have a significant amount of marital payments owed between your home, loans, credit cards, and other sources. If you’re also like most couples, the division of debt in your divorce will be a hotly contested topic as neither spouse is willing to take on more financial burden than they feel is fair.
Unfortunately, the division of money owed is not as straightforward as many couples would like. In fact, some spouses will be held accountable for costs incurred by the other depending on factors like income, assets, and health, among others.
At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we understand the stress that comes standard with any proceeding. We also understand that the added financial weight can make it difficult to begin a new life following the finalization of your separation, making it all the more important to be held responsible for only that which is equitable.
This is why we proactively evaluate and analyze your financial status to ensure you aren’t burdened with costs you shouldn’t be responsible for. Doing so promises the hope of a better future free from the constraints of poor credit or decades of paying back money that isn’t yours to pay.
In Any Divorce, There are Multiple Types of Debt Commonly Divided Between the Parties
Whether you directly acquired the outstanding costs or not, you are responsible for any that has accumulated throughout the course of your marriage. Most often, marital debt includes the following:
- Loans that have been signed by both parties (i.e. for your home, vehicles, etc.)
- Credit cards that are in both names
- Debt from a company that is owned by both parties
Of course, every case is unique. As such, you might have additional payments owed in need of division, though these are the most common forms of debt to be expected.
The Court Analyzes Several Factors to Determine Which Spouse is Responsible for Which Debt
As you can imagine, there are many factors that influence how much of what is owed each spouse will be held responsible for.
- Your current financial situation and that of your spouse
- Your current and future earning potential and that of your spouse
- Whether costs were incurred in the interest of the other spouse (i.e. to put a spouse through school)
We diligently work to ensure you pay for money you owe and nothing more. We believe that doing so is the only way to guarantee a brighter future for our clients and ensure that the cost doesn’t burden one spouse beyond their means.
Protect Your Future by Contacting the Team at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.
If you’re concerned over the division of money owed in your separation or have questions regarding details unique to your situation, contact the team at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. Doing so guarantees a thorough, analytical review of all marital debts and the factors that influence the division of debt, giving you a future where you can effectively manage your payments owed and thrive.
Speak to Larry or a member of our staff today by calling 630-470-9990. You may also request a free, 30-minute consultation or ask any questions you have by contacting us via our convenient online form.
You deserve a future free from the burdens of costs you can’t afford. Contact the team at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. to ensure that that future is yours.
Common Questions About How Debt Works In Divorce
It’s expected that you and your spouse will have money owed to 3rd parties when you file for divorce. Between student loans, mortgages, auto loans, and credit card payments, many couples find themselves in a compromising position and concerned about the amount of money owed they’ll assume following their divorce.
While you may expect costs to be divided 50/50 in your divorce, this likely won’t be the case. Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that if you stayed at home to take care of the kids while your spouse worked, you likely won’t be responsible for as much of the payments owed because they is outside of your means.
Of course, it’s important to consider what will happen to debts as part of your separation. After all, the weight of overdue payments will affect your future and as such, it’s important that you understand the implications of what you owe and how it will work in your case.
Are All Debts Divided in a Divorce?
Technically speaking, only marital debts are to be divided as part of a divorce. Marital debts are those acquired during your marriage and are considered distinct from non-marital debts, or those that were incurred by either you or your spouse before the marriage.
For example, if your spouse took out college loans before you were married in his or her name, you will likely not be responsible for the money owed. But if they used this degree to obtain a job that solely supported your family, you may run into additional complications. As you can imagine, there are some blurred lines between what can be considered a marital vs. non-marital debt and your divorce lawyer can help explain this to you.
What the Equitable Division of Debt Means
As we mentioned above, the equitable division of debt isn’t dividing what is owed 50/50 but “equitably” between the parties. Judges will consider factors such as your earning power, your ability to pay for what is owed, and your spouse’s assets compared to yours.
You can likely imagine that dividing joint debts, such as credit cards, are sometimes complicated because the collector can pursue either of you if the other doesn’t pay. However, you can always return to Court if your spouse doesn’t comply with your Marital Settlement Agreement to ensure you aren’t held responsible for money owed that you weren’t ordered to pay.
You Need an Experienced Divorce Attorney to Ensure Your Given a Fair Portion of the Marital Debt
The financials of any divorce case are often the most difficult to settle. By working with an experienced law firm, like Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., you can ensure you’re given a manageable portion of marital payments owed.
To discuss your concerns or take advantage of your free, contact us at 630-470-9990 or fill up our request form below. We look forward to discussing your potential case and offering our expertise and support.