If you are in the process of getting divorced, you probably feel like you have hundreds of things to consider. You need to decide where you are going to live, what the best arrangements for your children might be, and how you are going to support yourself as an individual moving forward. In addition, you and your spouse will also need to determine how your marital property will be divided and which of you will be keeping which specific assets. For many couples, dividing marital property is one of the most challenging aspects of a divorce and one that must be handled with great care and attention to detail.
Less Obvious Considerations
When the time comes to divide marital property, most couples realize that certain assets will be subject to division. These generally include the marital home, any vehicles purchased during the marriage, and household furnishings, along with cash savings and other investments. Illinois law, however, provides that marital property includes “all property, including debts and other obligations, acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage,” with the exception of property received by a spouse as a gift or inheritance.
This means that there are many other types of assets that must be considered in divorce and which may be subject to equitable distribution, including:
- Digital downloads: If you or your spouse spent marital income on iTunes purchases or Amazon videos, the collection would need to be evaluated and considered as part of the marital estate;
- Intellectual property: Did your spouse write a book or create artwork that has yet to sell? Perhaps, you acquired a patent or copyright protection for a work you created during the marriage. Either way, such works and rights will need to be valued and accounted for in the division of property process;
- Carryover benefits from an old job: Retirement accounts and pensions are rarely overlooked, but one of you may have received stock options or deferred compensation from a previous employer, which could prove to be quite valuable;
- Retained earnings: If either one of you owns a business, money that is left within the business rather than paid out to shareholders could be considered marital property in certain situations;
- Collections: You may have rolled your eyes at your spouse’s obsession with baseball cards, comic books, antiques, or coins, but such collections—at least the portion of them acquired during the marriage—are usually part of the marital estate. Simply forgetting about them could be an expensive mistake; and
- Pets: According to Illinois law, pets are considered property and courts will not consider ordering visitation for a dog or cat. You and your spouse can negotiate such terms on your own, so if you want to keep your furry friend, you may need to offer something of value in return.
Identifying marital property is often the most complicated step in the property division process, but an experienced St. Charles divorce attorney can provide assistance. Call Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today for a free consultation and get the help you need throughout every stage of your divorce.