How Are High-Value Assets Divided in an Illinois Divorce?
Over the course of a marriage, couples accumulate assets that must be divided if they get divorced. Sometimes these assets, such as vehicles and savings accounts, are fairly straightforward. Other times, assets are complex or of substantial value and dividing these assets can prove more challenging.
Illinois requires marital property to be divided in a way that is fair, rather than 50/50. While this gives divorcing individuals more freedom to negotiate the asset division process, it is important to recognize common types of high-value assets and how they are handled during divorce so you can ensure you get your fair share of marital assets.
Common High-Value Assets
Although high-value assets are unique and each couple’s situation is different, certain types of these assets commonly appear during the asset division process. These include, but are not limited to:
- Personal or family businesses - Businesses are often complex organizations with many debts and assets. Dividing businesses during divorce can prove very complex, as the business first must be valued and then each spouse’s share of the business determined. Unfortunately, sometimes this has such a detrimental impact on the business’s value that it may close following a divorce.
- Retirement accounts - Retirement accounts often have significant value and are made up of complex financial portfolios that contain stocks and bonds. To divide retirement accounts, spouses may either cash out, which requires stocks to be sold and investors to face significant tax implications, or roll over their portion into a different individual account.
- Real estate - Real estate ownership can be very difficult to divide during divorce because it often also comes with debt and management costs. Although the value of a property must be appraised and divided, people often do not want to sell the property and split the value. Instead, one spouse “buys out” their value of a property using their share of other marital assets. The other spouse keeps the property while taking on the debts and responsibilities associated with it.
Mistakes and Irregularities in Asset Valuation and Division
Spouses should be wary of the fact that the asset valuation process is often used to hide assets or their true value. Spouses may use a real estate appraiser who will give a false estimate of the value of a property, or attempt to hide funds in offshore accounts. This can place one spouse at a significant disadvantage, both in terms of asset division and in terms of the tax implications of reallocating asset ownership. If there is a concern that one spouse may be dishonest during the valuation process, financial specialists like forensic accounts may be necessary to ensure no income or assets are concealed.
Consult with a Kane County Property Division Attorney
If you are facing the prospect of divorce, you need the help of an experienced St. Charles, IL asset division attorney who will advocate passionately on your behalf. At Shaw Sanders, P.C., we will work tirelessly to position you for a favorable outcome every step of the way. Contact our offices today to schedule a free initial consultation and find out why our clients consistently give us five-star reviews. Call us at 630-584-5550.