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Did your spouse recently file for divorce? If so, he or she had the opportunity to choose where to file the petition and the county where your case will be heard. You may be surprised to learn that if your spouse has filed first, you are not necessarily forced to go along with his or choice. Under Illinois law, you have the right to file an objection regarding the chosen venue but you must act quickly or you could miss your chance.
Throughout the legal system, the term “venue” refers to the county or district court in a which a given case will be handled. Divorce cases in Illinois are typically heard in the court circuit court system. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act presumes that divorce proceedings will be held in the county where at least one of the spouses currently lives. For example, if a couple has separated and filed for divorce, and the husband maintains an apartment in Kane County while the wife remains in the marital home in DuPage County, the law expects that the couple will file their divorce petition in either of those counties. A county in which neither spouse lives may be selected if the petitioning spouse presents a valid reason for choosing that county.
As with other assets in a divorce, stock options are generally divided based on the consideration of how and when they were acquired. The specifics of a person’s stock options may vary, and, at the time of the divorce, the spouse may or may not be able to exercise the option to buy. This often depends on whether to right to exercise the options has vested or not. How stock options are handled in a divorce may also be affected by whether the options were given as compensation for past, current, or future efforts.
In most cases, Illinois law treats stock options as marital property during a divorce—regardless of vesting status—if they were acquired subsequent to the marriage but before the divorce. When determining how stock options should be divided, the court will generally take into account how the stock options were acquired and the time it will take for the options to be exercisable.
Dividing Stock Options
Hidden assets are often a concern in many divorce cases. In past generations, a spouse may have hidden assets by stashing cash in a safety deposit box of which his or her partner was unaware or by opening a side account in a separate bank. With the advent of the digital age, however, came a new method that person could use to hide marital assets: the digital currency known as Bitcoin.
What Is Bitcoin?
While you may have heard of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, many are unfamiliar with how they work. Bitcoin, essentially, is a network that allows individuals to send payments to each other electronically. The payment units are called “Bitcoins,” and they are not a physical currency sponsored by any particular state or government. Instead, they are the product of a very complex algorithm that is encrypted to control the generation of the currency and to verify the transfer of funds.
Have you ever enjoyed an experience with another person after which you felt closer than ever? Whether it was a charming vacation, witnessing a major historic event, or any other occasion, you may have known right away that your relationship with that person would never be the same. While some people certain do have such experiences, certain events may have the exact opposite effect for others. Ironically, some of the very same experiences that pull some people closer together may plant the seed of division that ultimately drives others apart. Between friends and family members, a relationship may simply cool off, but for a married couple, such life events could ultimately push the spouses toward a divorce.
In Sickness and in Health…
A happy, healthy marriage takes a great deal of work on the part of both spouses. If one spouse develops a serious health condition or chronic illness, however, the relationship can change quickly. An illness or disability could mean that one partner will be expected to shoulder more of the responsibility for maintaining the marriage—a reality that some individuals are just not equipped to handle. Health concerns can also create financial difficulties as well. It is interesting to note that the likelihood of divorce due to a spouse’s health concerns seems to be directly related to which spouse gets sick. Divorce rates tend to go up when it is the wife who falls ill but remain about the same as an average couple when it is the husband.
If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, you may have already begun the process of negotiating the details. You may even reach an agreement on most or all of the related considerations—including property division, spousal maintenance, and parenting arrangements—before you file your divorce petition. In almost every case, a negotiated agreement provides for a divorce with significantly reduced stress, anxiety, and contentiousness compared to one requiring courtroom litigation. Sometimes, however, a couple’s proposed agreement does not meet the standards of the court and may be rejected on the basis that it is unconscionable. To avoid having your agreement refused by the court, it is necessary to understand the concept of unconscionability.
The court cannot and will not incorporate your settlement agreement into its final judgment without first reviewing and approving the proposal. For property and maintenance issues, the law requires the court to approve your agreement as long as the terms are not found to be unconscionable or dramatically unfair to one party. For example, if you and your spouse present an agreement to the court which says that you get 100 percent of the marital property without any reasonable justification, your agreement would probably be found unconscionable.