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dissipation, Illinois divorce attorneysWhen a marriage is ending, it is not uncommon for one spouse to behave in ways that are detrimental to his or her soon-to-be ex, especially if there is a potential new partner in the picture. One of the most common ways is through the dissipation of marital assets. In extreme cases, this can be a crime, but most of the time, dissipation results in the offending spouse receiving fewer assets. If you fear this is happening to you, you may have the ability to prove it and benefit appropriately.

Illinois Case Law

Throughout the years, Illinois courts have defined dissipation as the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage” during the time when the marriage is irretrievably breaking down. The key word is “irretrievably.” In In re Marriage of O’Neill, the court held that alleged dissipation can only be looked into for the period where the marriage was breaking down. Thus, if your spouse, for example, began to use marital money to buy gifts for a mistress from the beginning of your marriage, you likely will not be able to claim the value of those lost assets unless you can show that your marriage was breaking down from the very beginning.

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marital property, Kane County divorce attorneysEvery divorce situation is unique, as no two couples live under exactly the same circumstances. Many divorces, however, are relatively similar in that the property acquired during the course of the marriage includes assets and debts of a fairly mundane nature. A married couple may have acquired homes, vehicles, and retirement savings, as well as educational loans, credit card debt, and mortgage obligations. In some cases, however, the property division process can be much more complex, as a man in Lake County is now discovering after an Illinois appellate court determined that his $20 million settlement for a wrongful rape and murder conviction is marital property and, therefore, subject to division.

Case Background

In 1993, the man was found guilty of the rape and murder of an 11-year-old Waukegan girl and was sentenced to life in prison. During his incarceration, he met and married his wife who had taken an interest in his case. In 2011, DNA evidence exonerated the man, and he was released from prison in 2012.

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pets, Kane County divorce lawyerMillions of American families own dogs, cats, and other companion animals. In many situations, pets are as much a part of the family as any person. We share our homes, our lives, and, often, our own beds with the animals we love. With pets as common as they are in households around the country, it should hardly come as a surprise that many beloved dogs and cats get caught in the middle of difficult divorces. If you are a pet owner considering a divorce, it is important to know what your options may be regarding your furry friends.

Knowing the Law

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) contains most of the provisions governing the process of divorce in the state. The IMDMA, however, does not include any references to companion animals of any kind, meaning that, as far as the statute is concerned, animals are considered property. As such, what happens to dogs and cats in a divorce—when left to the court to decide—may be dependent upon the rest of the marital estate and how it is allocated between the spouses.

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Posted on in Division of Property

marital assets, Kane County divorce lawyerIf 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.

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cohabitation, Kane County family law attorneyWhile sociologists and relationship experts may debate the root causes, there is little question that more and more couples are delaying marriage in favor of a cohabitation arrangement. In some cases, couples are giving up on marriage entirely. For many couples, moving in together is seen as a first step or a “trial” marriage without the legal commitment; for others, it is a much more permanent situation, with a wedding in the “sometime in the future,” if ever, category. But, what happens when a cohabitating couple breaks up? In some cases, a “divorce” can be even more painful and financially devastating for those who never even got married.

Avoid the Unspoken Understandings

When you move in with your romantic partner, the two of you may have laid out some of your expectations for your relationship. Too often, however, things get left out and go unaddressed for years. For example, you may assume that your partner will automatically take over your personal effects in the event of your death. Without taking action, such may not actually be the case. Similarly, you may be living solely on your partner’s income. If you were to split, would he or she help you financially until you could get back on your feet?

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