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Peoria Family Law Blog

Financial support can relieve women's financial burden in divorce

Men and women alike face unique challenges during divorce, but a report indicates that many women in Illinois face more burdens than their exes. This is not the result of just one factor but of many, ranging from finances to child custody. Although financial support such as alimony might help relieve some of this burden, it is not necessarily enough.

Money is the largest concern among women going through divorce, in part because they earn an average of 81% of the median male income. Compared to men, women also suffer much larger drops in income after divorce, around 20%. Men see their incomes go up at least 30%, sometimes more. This means that women must be as prepared as possible for divorce, such as taking steps to save money in personal accounts, improve credit scores and close joint credit card accounts when possible.

What can a prenuptial agreement protect in a high asset divorce?

Prenuptial agreements are powerful planning tools for protecting wealth. Significant assets may be on the line during a high asset divorce, including property interests, retirement plans and more. A high-profile couple in Illinois can avoid dealing with complex asset division during divorce by addressing the matter prior to marriage.

Asset division is one of the biggest reasons couples decide to create prenuptial agreements. For example, if a couple would prefer to divide marital assets in a way that differs from state law, then they can do so in a prenup. This includes things like detailing what is separate property and to whom it belongs. One person can also protect him or herself from a spouse's debt, provide for children from past relationships and protect an estate plan.

Inheritances may be vulnerable during asset division

Leaving an inheritance to an heir is an act of love and respect. An inheritance might include valuable assets or family heirlooms, both of which are meant to stay within the family. When an heir receives a size-able financial sum as his or her inheritance, it may be based off one or more generations of hard work and dedication. Protecting that inheritance during a divorce should be simple enough. However, there can be certain complicating factors during asset division.

Unless a will specifically states that an inheritance should go to both the heir and his or her spouse, it is considered the heir's separate property. In Illinois, only marital property is divided during a divorce, and each partner maintains ownership of his or her own separate property. Real life is complicated, though, and dividing property into "marital" and "separate" categories is not necessarily straightforward. This is because it is possible for separate property to become marital property.

Assert your fathers' rights in all child custody matters

Being a father is more than just something you do in between your other obligations -- it is the most important role you will ever play in life. But now that you are getting a divorce, you might not be sure how fatherhood will look going forward. Many dads in Illinois worry that they will only see their kids occasionally. Your situation does not have to be like this, so it may help to familiarize yourself with fathers' rights regarding child custody.

It is a myth that courts automatically give moms primary custody. State law allows for both moms and dads to request parental rights when divorcing, which can result in a number of different custody situations. You should always be proactive when seeking parenting time, which includes being an active participant in your child's life. For example, even if your ex-spouse routinely managed your child's daily schedule, you should gather that information for yourself instead of waiting for her to inform you. This includes things like signing up as a class parent, chaperoning field trips and volunteering on a sports team.

Factors that affect spousal maintenance in Illinois

There are many uncertainties when filing for divorce. A person cannot be certain of the outcome regarding things like property division, child custody and more. This is also true of spousal maintenance. Although many Illinois residents believe that spousal maintenance is a given, this is not always the case. A judge will take many different factors into account before deciding whether maintenance is appropriate.

The duration of a couple's marriage is one such factor. For example, a judge may decide that the length of the marriage was too short to justify maintenance for either party. If a couple has been married long enough for maintenance to apply, the standard of living during the marriage is an important consideration.

How asset division is addressed in Illinois state law

Even if it may not seem like it, married couples tend to put a significant amount of time, effort and money into purchasing or investing in property. Although this term might sound particularly specific it is actually applied rather broadly. Unless there is a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise, almost all property acquired during a marriage is considered marital property. As such, asset division can be particularly complicated depending on the length of marriage or how much property a couple acquired during that period of time.

In Illinois, marital property is dealt with through equitable distribution. This means that property will be divided equitably, which may not be equally. In so,me circumstances, an equitable division of assets may look like something closer to 60/40. Many different factors can help a couple or family law judge determine what the fairest split might be.

Don't let investments slide during a high asset divorce

Money is a common point of contention during marriage, but it can be even more so during divorce. Individuals may feel as if they are hyperfocused on securing their future financial situations, but in doing so often overlook the need for financial focus in the present. Paying close attention to investments during a high asset divorce should be a priority.

Investments made during marriage are usually considered marital property in Illinois, but there may be situations in which an investment is the personal property of only one spouse. In this case, he or she might consider updating beneficiary designations. Many people list their spouses as beneficiaries, and overlooking this seemingly small detail could result in unwanted financial actions.

Worrying about retirement plans during gray divorce

Divorce is just as much a financial and legal process as it is an emotional one. The financial implications of ending a marriage can be significant, but it is still possible to minimize undesirable outcomes. For example, couples in Illinois who are divorcing after decades of marriage should pay careful attention to complex assets such as retirement plans. Even the division of something as seemingly simple as a 401(k) can become a foundation for financial security following divorce.

Securing retirement funds is particularly important when it comes to gray divorce. Gray divorce -- which refers to divorce involving couples over the age of 50 -- is becoming more common in the United States. Between 1990 and 2019, the rate of divorce for this age group doubled, which has some troubling financial implications. According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, a person who divorces after 50 is likely to see his or her wealth cut in half.

How can startup founders protect their business during divorce?

Getting a prenup does not mean that a couple thinks their marriage will not work out as intended. Instead, it is simply a way to make sure that both people and their respective assets are protected should they divorce. A person in Illinois does not need lots of wealth or assets to benefit from a prenup, either. Startup founders, entrepreneurs and investors who have yet to make it big can still protect their current and future wealth.

Tech startups often seem as if they are popping up more and more frequently. While many of these new, smaller tech companies do not rise to the level of raking in millions in profits, some certainly do. An entrepreneur or an individual working on a startup idea has to be aware of the future and what it may entail. Since it is possible that a company may make it big, and it is also possible that the founder may divorce, he or she can clearly state that any current or future business ventures or startup ideas are separate property, and not subject to asset division.

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