Dividing marital property is never an easy task, but doing so when dealing with extremely valuable assets can be even more complex. If you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse have many high-value assets, a qualified professional may be useful in evaluating them and reaching an appropriate settlement.
Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that all marital property must be divided between the spouses in the way deemed most fair based on a number of factors including each spouse’s situation and future earning potential. With most marital assets, the questions of who paid for or performed upkeep on specific assets are somewhat irrelevant; what matters more is who has the potential to earn more and to place themselves in a better situation going forward. A spouse with a high-paying job and relatively few financial obligations will probably end up with fewer marital assets than a spouse who makes very little money or is saddled with many debts.
Something many spouses forget, however, is that debts are often divided along with assets during a divorce. If a debt is found to be “marital,” it will likely be assigned to the spouse most able to pay and balanced along with that spouse’s share of the assets. In other words, if a spouse is assigned to pay significant amounts of marital debt, they may receive more assets so as to ensure the distribution remains equitable.
Ensuring Assets Are Valued Properly
One major pitfall that is best to avoid during a divorce is to fall prey to sentiment over practicality. Many significant assets, while having a great deal of sentimental value, may prove difficult to reduce to a dollar amount and even be undervalued by accident or design. It is imperative to have an attorney who grasps the implications of appraising high-value assets so that you do not become a victim of a substandard, inequitable property settlement. You may also benefit from the assistance of appraisers who are experts in their fields; for example, actuaries or retired insurance functionaries to assess how much value has accumulated in a life insurance policy over time.
A professional experienced in the valuation of assets can help identify property that has been undervalued or otherwise miscategorized. Sometimes an undervalued asset is merely the result of a mistake, but it can also be evidence of an attempt to hide assets from one’s spouse. If it is discovered that you are hiding assets, the consequences are severe; you may receive less marital property, and if the undervaluing is significant enough, you could even be held in contempt of court.
Contact a Property Division Attorney
In a divorce situation, an experienced legal professional can help safeguard your assets and ensure that you and your spouse both walk away with a fair and equitable settlement. Contact an experienced Kane County property division lawyer to discuss your situation and your options. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation with Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.