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Hillside, IL 60162

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Oak Park Divorce LawyerIf you or your future spouse own a business, you know the hard work and dedication it takes to be an owner. As you are approaching your marriage, you may have questions about the impact that getting married  may have on your business. To protect your business’ assets and clearly and legally establish what is and is not marital property, you and your spouse may choose to sign a prenuptial agreement. No one wants to think about divorce before they are even married, but having a prenuptial agreement in place, especially when a business is involved, can provide peace of mind and establish a clear understanding of your finances. 

Signing a prenuptial agreement is not a predictor of divorce. As the average age of wedded couples grows older, and more assets are often brought into the marriage, it can be a good way of knowing each other's assets and debts. This can help avoid arguments about finances later, which are a leading cause of divorce. Both parties should be as upfront as they can during the preparation of a prenuptial agreement. During the divorce process, the agreement can be thrown out by a judge if, for example, one of the parties hid assets from the other, or if one spouse felt coerced into signing the agreement. 

With regard to a business, you will likely need to get a formal valuation of it for the purposes of a prenup . Typically, if a business was started before the marriage, it is usually considered non-marital property. A prenuptial agreement may also still be a good idea if you will be going into business together, or if one spouse will be doing work at the business of the other, because even if you started the business before the marriage, without a prenup, the business  might later be considered partially or even fully marital property. A prenuptial agreement can also be used to specify each spouse’s share of the business's assets and liabilities, as well as how any appreciation would be divided  in case of a divorce. While Illinois is an equitable distribution state–marital assets are divided equitably between the parties, not equally–it can still be beneficial to both spouses to agree upon a split upfront. 

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Hillside Divorce LawyerWhile a spousal maintenance award will not be made in every divorce case, such an award may be appropriate in cases where one party will require financial support in order to maintain their standard of living. For example, if one spouse is a stay-at-home parent, they may ask for their ex-spouse to provide them with ongoing support payments to ensure that they will be able to meet their financial needs as well as maintain a residence where they can continue to provide care for their children at home during the day. While arrangements for spousal support may address a person’s needs as they move forward following their divorce, the circumstances of both parties may change in the future. If these changes would affect a person’s ability to continue making maintenance payments, or if the recipient of support will no longer need financial assistance, post-divorce modification of a spousal maintenance order may be necessary.

When Can Modifications Be Made to Spousal Support?

Generally, a person can request modifications to spousal maintenance payments if there has been a significant change in circumstances for either party. This kind of situation will typically involve changes to the income that a person earns. For example, a person who pays spousal support may encounter financial hardship due to the loss of a job or a serious injury or illness. If they will be unable to continue paying support while also covering their own ongoing expenses, they may ask for the amount of support to be reduced temporarily, or reduced permanently, or they may request that maintenance payments be terminated altogether.

Modifications may also be needed to address changes that affect the recipient of spousal support. Since maintenance is often intended to help a person become self-supporting, such as by pursuing a college degree or receiving occupational training, it may be appropriate to terminate support payments if the recipient has re-entered the workforce and is earning an income that is sufficient to meet their needs. Maintenance will also be terminated if the recipient gets remarried or begins a new relationship in which they are living together with their partner.

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Hillside Divorce LawyerOver the past several years, more and more people have begun to invest in virtual currencies, which are also commonly known as cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a multitude of other cryptocurrencies may be bought, sold, and transferred, and since these transactions take place online, they can sometimes be hard to track. Since virtual currencies can be valuable, they may need to be considered in a divorce case. In some cases, spouses have attempted to use cryptocurrency to hide money from their partners and avoid dividing these assets during the divorce process. 

Addressing Cryptocurrency When Dividing Marital Property

When a couple gets divorced, they will need to divide all of their marital property. This includes any assets that either spouse acquired during the couple’s marriage. Cryptocurrency purchased by one spouse during the marriage will usually be considered marital property, unless that spouse used only their separately-owned assets to make these types of purchases. Any increase in value of virtual currencies will also be considered marital property, and in some cases, these assets may be worth tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Unfortunately, transactions involving cryptocurrency can sometimes be difficult to uncover. A person may use multiple online accounts to log into virtual currency exchanges, and transfers may be made to overseas accounts or using websites that are kept hidden from the public. Some spouses have taken advantage of this situation by transferring cryptocurrencies they own into multiple secret accounts with the intent of hiding these assets from their spouses. They may believe that if these transactions are not visible to others, they will be able to conceal the value of these assets they own, giving them a financial advantage once their divorce is complete.

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Oak Park Divorce LawyerA divorce case will involve a number of different types of financial issues. Depending on the complexity of a couple’s finances and the marital and separate assets they own, determining how to divide marital property can be a complicated process. Retirement accounts are one type of property that may need to be addressed during the divorce process, and couples will need to make sure they understand the issues that may affect how these accounts will be divided. 

Division of 401(k) Accounts, IRAs, and Pensions

Retirement savings accounts may be valuable assets that a person will rely on to provide for their financial needs in the future. When an account in one spouse’s name was created or contributed to during a couple’s marriage, it will usually be considered a marital asset that will need to be addressed during the divorce process. Couples may take a few different approaches when dividing these accounts, such as splitting the funds in an account equally, or allocating a certain percentage of an account to each spouse, or having each spouse keep accounts in their names while ensuring that other assets are divided in a manner that is fair and equitable.

When spouses choose to divide the funds in an account, they will need to follow the correct legal procedures to ensure that they will not be required to pay early withdrawal penalties. For employer-sponsored accounts such as 401Ks, a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order” (“QDRO”) can be prepared, and this “QDRO” will provide instructions to the retirement plan administrator on how funds should be transferred.

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Hillside Divorce LawyerIf you are planning to get a divorce, your ability to support yourself financially will likely be one of your primary concerns, especially if you earn a lower income than your spouse or are a stay-at-home parent. As you make plans to address your living situation and determine how you will cover your ongoing expenses, you will want to determine whether you will be able to receive financial support from your spouse. Spousal maintenance, which is also known as spousal support or alimony, may be available, but to receive this form of support, you will usually need to demonstrate that it is needed.

Factors Considered When Addressing Spousal Maintenance

When addressing issues related to spousal maintenance, it is important to understand the purpose of this form of support. When a couple gets divorced, they should be able to continue living at the standard they enjoyed while they were married. Spousal support may address a disparity between spouses’ incomes and ensure that a lower-earning spouse can maintain their standard of living. Maintenance is based solely on spouses’ economic circumstances and needs rather than the reasons they are getting divorced. In fact, Illinois law states that “marital misconduct” will not affect the decisions about whether to award spousal support, so maintenance cannot be used as a penalty for infidelity or other actions or behavior by a spouse.

You and your spouse may be able to reach an agreement about spousal support in your divorce settlement. However, if your spouse does not agree that they should pay support, you may need to request that maintenance be awarded by the judge in your case. When deciding whether spousal support is appropriate, the judge may look at issues such as:

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