IL divorce lawyerDivorce ends a relationship between two people, but it also requires them to separate their finances. Often, resolving the latter issue is far more complicated than resolving the former. A couple who has been married for many years and who shares high net worth assets often has a complex financial picture and extensively intertwined finances.

Unfortunately, the process of asset division only becomes more complicated when one spouse attempts to hide assets or other financial resources from the other spouse. If you believe that your spouse is being dishonest about their finances, contact an experienced Illinois divorce attorney right away.

Why Do Spouses Try to Hide Assets?

Spouses often try to diminish the appearance of their overall financial picture in order to reduce their portion of the divorce settlement and increase their financial resources after the divorce. Other reasons spouses may dissemble about their finances include trying to favorably manipulate their share of child support or spousal maintenance or attempting to hide unrelated financial problems that may be revealed during divorce proceedings.

Generally, the more complex someone’s financial assets are, the easier it is for them to hide or lie about assets during the divorce process. If someone has many investment and bank accounts, rental properties, residential properties, international assets, or businesses, there may be many opportunities to hide the true value of their finances.

How Do Spouses Hide Assets in Divorce?

People can become surprisingly creative when it comes to cheating their spouses out of money. Some of the most common ways spouses hide their finances include:

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IL divorce lawyerToo many people getting a divorce in Illinois fail to consider how Social Security benefits are handled until after the divorce is over. Because Social Security law is complex and not subject to division as part of the asset division process, it is easy to overlook.

However, many people are entitled to Social Security benefits according to their former spouse’s work history. If you are getting divorced, you will likely want to understand how federal law provides for situations in which divorcees can obtain Social Security benefits so you do not miss out on money to which you are entitled.

When Can a Divorcee Qualify for Spousal Social Security Benefits?

Because spousal benefits are not automatically given to former spouses, you must apply to receive benefits through the Social Security Administration. No matter which state you live in, Social Security benefits are decided according to federal law. The federal government considers several factors when determining benefit eligibility for divorcees:

  • Your Personal Benefits - It is impossible to collect federal benefits for two people at the same time. Instead, the government will look at your age-based or disability benefits and your spouse's benefits and allow you to collect the greater of the two.
  • Age - You and your former spouse must be at least 62, even if they are not collecting their benefits yet. Collecting benefits through your former spouse does not affect their benefits or obligate them to begin collecting their own.
  • Marriage and Relationship Status - In order to collect your former spouse’s benefits, your marriage with your former spouse must have lasted ten years or more. As of the time you filed for benefits, you must have been divorced from your spouse for at least two years, and you may not be married while collecting.

How Large Will My Social Security Payments Be?

Your benefit amount will depend on the following factors:

  • If your former spouse is alive, your payments will depend on the amount of their benefits. For example, if you are at full retirement age, you can receive half the benefit amount your former spouse receives.
  • If your former spouse has died, you are also entitled to half of their benefits but you may begin collecting at age 60, rather than waiting to be at full retirement age.
  • If you marry someone else before age 60, you may not receive benefits from your former spouse at any time. If you get married after 60, you may.
  • If you begin taking payments before full retirement age, your benefits will be permanently reduced.

Speak with a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

Understanding the monetary implications of divorce is a crucial part of your long-term financial well-being. The Kane County divorce attorneys with Shaw Family Law, P.C., have experience helping people like you understand their options under state and federal law. We will advocate for your interests throughout the divorce process and help you plan for life after divorce. Call us today at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free consultation.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen a couple gets married, they make what is supposed to be a lifelong commitment to each other. Unfortunately, things do not always turn out that way, and many marriages last for much shorter timespans. In fact, recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth show that more than 20 percent of first marriages result in divorce or separation before reaching the five-year mark. Marriages can fail in the early years for a number of reasons, and you could find yourself facing the prospect of divorce much sooner than expected.

Contributing Factors in Early Divorces

It may be hard to imagine how a marriage would fail so soon after it begins, but the truth is that there are many serious issues that can come to the surface in the early years of married life. Some examples include:

  • Financial conflicts - For many couples, marriage marks the beginning of sharing financial responsibilities and decision-making. If a couple has not discussed finances before getting married, they may find that they have incompatible priorities, or even that one spouse has been hiding financial troubles from the other.
  • Conflicts related to living together - Many couples also wait until after getting married to move in together, and this can be a difficult adjustment period. Spouses may feel that they have lost their personal time and space, or a spouse may become frustrated with their partner’s lack of contribution to household responsibilities.
  • Lack of communication - A marital relationship can soon fail if spouses do not commit to regular, open communication with each other. Problems may start to arise when one or both spouses hold back from expressing their needs for fear of starting conflict, or when a spouse fails to share important information with their partner.
  • Unmet expectations - Sometimes, a person will decide to get married thinking that it will help them solve existing problems in their relationship, or that their partner will “change their ways” after the marriage, which can result in disappointment when this does not turn out to be the case. Other times, a person may simply realize that their spouse is not who they thought they were before the marriage.
  • Infidelity - When a person cheats on their spouse in the early years of marriage, this can create an obstacle that may be impossible to overcome. Dishonesty about other things can also quickly destroy the trust necessary to sustain a marriage.

What to Expect from the Divorce Process

If your marriage does fail early on, your divorce may be less complicated than a divorce that occurs after many years of marriage. In Illinois, you may even be eligible for an option known as a joint simplified dissolution of marriage if you have few assets and you do not have any children. However, it is still a good idea to consult with an attorney who can help you protect your interests and resolve any difficult challenges you may face.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we know that a divorce is a difficult experience no matter how long you have been married. We take the time to understand the issues you are facing so that we can provide legal representation that meets your needs throughout the divorce process. For a free consultation with a St. Charles, IL divorce lawyer, contact us today at 630-584-5550.

 

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IL divorce lawyerWhen getting a divorce, most married couples will need to sort out various financial concerns. Some of these concerns are obvious. For example, you probably already know that you will need to decide who will keep the house, how you will divide the checking account, or who will get the furniture. However, other financial issues often get overlooked or pushed to the side until the last minute. Part of planning for a smooth divorce process is learning about the various financial issues you will need to address before you finalize the split. The better-informed you are of these issues, the better position you will be in to make sound financial decisions during the divorce.

Allocation of Debt in an Illinois Divorce

Property division does not only involve the division of assets, it also consists of the division of liabilities and debts. According to Illinois law, debts are handled similarly to property during divorce. The debts that either spouse accumulated during the marriage are the responsibility of both parties. This true even if the other spouse did not purchase the item or the title is only in one spouse’s name. If a spouse agrees to pay a debt for which both parties are liable and fails to fulfill this responsibility, the creditor may pursue the other spouse – even after the divorce is final. This is why many divorcing spouses choose to sell assets to pay off jointly held debt during divorce.

Tax Consequences of Your Divorce

It is important to remember that ending a marriage may result in significant tax consequences. When negotiating a fair division of the marital estate, make sure to understand the tax implications of your arrangement. Even child custody can affect taxes. Only one of the parents can take the child exemption on their income taxes. Typically, the parent who has the majority of the parenting time is considered the “custodial parent” and therefore entitled to claim the dependency exemption.

Division of Retirement Accounts

Depending on the age of the divorcing spouses, retirement funds may constitute a significant part of the marital estate. Retirement plans are unique in that the asset may be partially marital (and therefore belonging to both spouses) and partially non-marital or separate. Typically, the portion of the retirement funds accumulated before marriage is considered separate property and not subject to division. The share accumulated during the marriage is part of the marital estate.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

If you are getting divorced, an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer from Shaw Family Law, P.C. can help. Call us at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation today.

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IL divorce lawyerBeing a stay-at-home mom or dad can be a wonderful way to ensure that your children receive the care and attention they need to grow into successful adults. It can also put you in a difficult situation during divorce. If you are a divorcing parent who has not worked outside of the home in several years, you may be overwhelmed by the possible personal and financial implications of your impending divorce. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to protect your rights as a stay-at-home parent and avoid mistakes that put you in an unfavorable position during divorce.

Know Your Rights Under Illinois Law

Many people are unaware of the rights that they have during divorce. They may quickly agree to terms before researching all of the possible options because they are eager to get the divorce over with. However, if you do not know your rights, you may inadvertently lose them. For example, many stay-at-home parents are entitled to spousal maintenance or alimony. The amount and duration of alimony payments depend on the financial and employment circumstances of both spouses, the duration of the marriage, and other factors. You may also be eligible for temporary spousal maintenance and/or child support payments before the divorce is finalized.

Under Illinois law, you have a right to an equitable share of the marital estate. This includes an equitable or fair share of any income or property acquired by you or your spouse during the marriage. If your home was purchased during the marriage or marital funds were used to pay the mortgage, your home is likely a marital asset. Any retirement funds that were accumulated during the marriage are also subject to division. You may even have a right to a fair share of your spouse’s business or professional practice.

Gather Important Financial Documents

Often, stay-at-home parents are not as involved in the household finances as their spouses. If have been out of the loop regarding finances, it is time to start taking inventory of your financial situation. Make copies of tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage and loan documents, and other financial paperwork. The better informed you are about your financial situation, the better position you will be in to make wise financial decisions during divorce.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

As a stay-at-home parent, you are in a challenging position during divorce. A St. Charles divorce attorney from Shaw Family Law, P.C. can help you request alimony, handle child custody concerns, ensure a fair division of the marital estate, and much more. Call us at 630-584-5550 for a free, confidential consultation today.

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