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valuation, Wheaton divorce attorneysWhen you are going through a divorce, financial and property considerations are often among the most complex elements of the process. Dividing marital assets can be intensely personal, as well as extremely confusing, depending on what your marital estate includes. For example, if you and your spouse bought a particular piece of furniture, you may both have a sentimental attachment to it and deciding who should get to keep it may cause an argument. However, if you or your spouse own a business—or part of one—determining how those interests are to be handled in divorce may be much more challenging.

Proper Valuation Matters

To ensure the entire process of dividing property is completed equitably and in accordance with the law, you will need to establish the value of the business interests to be included in the marital estate. In fact, a business valuation is important even the company is non-marital, as personal assets of each spouse must be taken into account as well.

There are several commonly accepted methods of completing a business valuation. Each involves a different philosophy of business analysis, and, while none is objectively superior to the others, the approach you choose will probably be based on how you see your company:

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property, DuPage County divorce attorneysIf you are considering divorce, you probably have several questions and concerns. One of these may the question of how your property, assets, and debts will be split between you and your spouse. In an Illinois divorce, marital property and debt are divided according to “equitable distribution” laws. Of course, determining exactly what is equitable is not always easy, and many factors go into asset division decisions.

Only Marital Property is Divided

During an Illinois divorce, the only property which is subject to division is marital, or shared property. At first glance, it may seem easy to distinguish marital property from separate, or non-marital property. The marital estate, as it is called, generally includes property acquired during the marriage and separate property includes assets which the spouses owned prior to getting married. However, there are many exceptions to these generalizations. Certain gifts and inheritances acquired during the marriage are still considered separate property. However, if separate property is comingled, or mixed, with maritirel property, the funds or property may all be considered marital. For example, if a husband receives an inheritance from a deceased relative during the marriage, this is likely separate property. However, if he then uses these funds to pay for combined expenses, the whole amount may be considered marital property during divorce.

Illinois Divides Property Equitably, Not Necessarily Evenly

Some states divide marital property 50-50 during divorce. However, Illinois takes a different approach. Illinois uses a method called equitable distribution to determine how assets and debt should be divided during a divorce. Many factors are considered by the court in order to determine the most reasonable and fair division of assets. These factors include, but are not limited to:

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Illinois divorce attorneysIn an Illinois divorce, parties are supposed to equitably split their assets. Unfortunately, there are spouses who will go to extreme lengths to conceal marital assets so that they can obtain more than their fair share. This act, known as asset hiding, often begins long before the start of a divorce, which can make it all the more difficult for one to track down hidden money. Thankfully, disadvantaged spouses do have some resources at their disposal. Learn more about them in the following sections, and discover how a seasoned divorce attorney may be able to help you determine whether asset hiding may have been an issue in your marriage.

Women Uncovers Multiple Properties in Divorce Proceedings

For decades, an Australian woman lived on a strict budget. Her husband, who worked and handled all the finances, had told her that they did not have enough money to meet their basic living expenses, so she scrimped and saved as much as she could while raising their children. When she finally decided to leave him, she went to an attorney to try and determine how much her settlement might be. That is when her attorney discovered that he owned a total of 15 properties. The woman, shocked but also relieved, sought her fair share of the assets. Her lawyer managed to get her a settlement that amounted to half of all the marital assets. While it is unfortunate that she did not discover the assets sooner, the outcome of her case was positive because, for the first time in her life, she could live comfortably.

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Illinois divorce lawyersSmall, family-owned businesses have made a comeback over the last several years, and they were instrumental in our country's post-recession recovery. Unfortunately, family businesses still face some unique and potentially devastating challenges; one of the most concerning is the risk of failure, closure, or liquidation during a divorce. If you have a small family-owned business and would like to avoid liquidation or closure, the following information may help.

How Family Businesses Are Treated in Divorce

Family-owned businesses are typically considered marital property during a divorce. There are a few exceptions, of course. For example, a business might be considered a non-marital asset if one party started the company before the marriage began and never used marital funds for business-related expenses. Even in these situations, couples are encouraged to speak with an attorney. After all, many nuances, exceptions, and exclusions can alter the outcome of a divorce case; businesses often complicate the already complex process even further.

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DuPage County divorce lawyersOne of the most confusing and complex issues in divorce is the separation of marital property from non-marital assets. Much of the complexity stems from the difficulty in proving the origins of an individual asset. However, many other factors play into this common issue as well. Learn more about how the courts distinguish marital assets from non-marital ones, and how an attorney can help you navigate through the process.

Yours, Mine, or Ours?

During the marriage, many couples share their assets. They do not see it as belonging to one party or the other. Instead, they consider their assets "joint" assets. Divorce often changes that view. Unfortunately, the process of untangling what belongs to whom can lead to bitter arguments and contention. Sometimes, the answer is simple. For example, an asset brought into the marriage by either party is generally considered a non-marital asset (provided it was never co-mingled with marital assets). Other times, though, it is far more difficult to distinguish if the asset is marital property or non-marital property. As an example, an inheritance that gifted to just one party during the marriage might have been excluded from the marital estate, but using it as a down payment for the family home is likely to make it a marital asset.

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