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Marital Property Valued at Date of Divorce- Divided Illinois Supreme Court

 Posted on January 29, 2013 in DIvision of Property

According to Illinois law, under certain circumstances, courts have the power to enter a judgment of dissolution in a divorce case and wait, as a part of the separate proceeding, to enter a property distribution judgment. However, sometimes that becomes a problem because the parties have a sense of urgency to get the proceedings completed once the marriage is over. Worse than that, if a business or the economy is growing or contracting quickly, one party may think he or she will do better in the property distribution by waiting.

In such cases, it has been a conflict as to which date the courts should use to date the value of marital property: the date of dissolution or the date of the trial on the property issues? Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court held in In re Marriage of Mathis that property value on the date of the grounds of the trial.

In Mathis, the husband filed for divorce in November 2000; four months later, the judgment of dissolution was entered. After many long delays, the trial court set an ultimate date for the marital property of December 31, 2010. Because of the husband's motion, the court certified a question for interlocutory appeal: in bifurcated divorce cases in which there are a "lengthy delay" between the dissolution trial and the ancillary issues trial, what date governs valuation? The Appellate Couty held that the date of the trial for the ancillary issues governs.

The Supreme Court reversed, however, with Justice Mary Jane Theis writing for a four-Justice majority. The Illlinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act in a bifurcated period, however, the valuation date is stated to be "the date of trial or some other date as close to the date of trial as is practicable. The law does not clarify which "trial" is intended, though, when there are two as part of a bifurcated proceeding.

If you are going through a separation or divorce and want to be sure to make the best decision, start with an attorney from Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC LLC in Wheaton, IL. The best decisions in divorce are made with the help of experienced divorce attorneys.

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