Dividing marital assets during a divorce can be tricky. For couples with substantial wealth or high net worth, divorce often involves complex assets such as investments, stock options, savings for retirement, businesses, and professional practices, digital assets, and real estate. Even assets such as jewelry or artwork can present challenges when it comes to the valuation and division of these assets. Working with a skilled divorce lawyer experienced in complex financial issues is essential for these types of divorce cases.
Classifying, Valuing, and Dividing Marital Assets
During many divorces, a couple’s assets are a combination of marital and non-marital assets. Any assets acquired before the marriage are non-marital assets, while assets acquired during the marriage are marital assets. However, classifying assets during divorce is rarely this straightforward, and numerous exceptions exist.
Once assets have been identified and classified, the spouses may need to have certain assets professionally appraised. For example, a business valuation expert may be required to correctly determine the value of a spouse’s business or professional practice. A professional appraiser may be needed to determine the worth of jewelry, fine art, or collectibles.
When dividing assets concerning jointly-held business or investment properties, it may be in your best interest to get help from an experienced financial professional. They will be able to accurately set the value taking into consideration how each person contributed, as well as the market conditions.
Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets
Divorcing spouses can sometimes negotiate an asset allocation during mediation or through their respective divorce attorneys. If you hope to avoid the stress and expense of a divorce trial and you or your spouse own complex, high-value property, make sure you retain an attorney with ample experience in property division and strong negotiation skills.
If no agreement can be reached during the initial negotiations, the case advances to the discovery phase. During discovery, each spouse’s lawyer may use interrogatories, depositions, subpoenas, and other legal tools to gather as much information as possible about the case. They will use the facts and evidence gathered to strengthen their negotiations and fight for a favorable outcome for their client. In most divorce cases, the parties are able to reach a settlement before the case goes to trial.
If no settlement is reached before the trial date, the attorneys will represent their respective clients and present evidence and arguments to the judge. The judge will evaluate all of the evidence presented, listen to each side’s arguments, and then hand down a decision.
Illinois is an equitable distribution state regarding the division of assets. This means that instead of each spouse receiving half of the marital assets, the court considers a range of factors when deciding how to divide assets. What each spouse receives will be determined by the circumstances surrounding the case and each spouse’s needs.
Contact a Cook County Divorce Attorney
At [[title]], we understand how challenging it can be to divide marital assets, especially with complex finances. Working with an experienced equitable distribution lawyer can help make sure you know your situation and be sure that you get everything you deserve. Contact a Chicago divorce attorney at [[phone]] for a free limited consultation today. Get the help you deserve.