Marital property is subject to equitable division in Illinois, including investment assets. The equitable division of property may result in an equal division of assets in a divorce action; however, equitable is not equal. If the parties cannot reach a settlement agreement regarding property division, the court determines an equitable distribution of property based on the evidence presented to the court and applicable laws. An Illinois divorce attorney can provide the legal advice necessary to protect your right to a fair division of investment property during your divorce.
Investment property may include mutual funds, stocks, commodity accounts, bonds, stock options, and retirement accounts. Real estate might be considered investment property if it was purchased to generate income, to take advantage of certain tax benefits, or to profit from the appreciation of the property. Rental property is a common example of investment real estate. Property acquired during the marriage is marital property unless a spouse can prove otherwise.
One of the most difficult aspects of dividing investment assets during a divorce is establishing a value for the investment, especially real estate. A financial account is typically easier to value than stocks because stock values can change substantially from day to day when the stock market is volatile. However, if an account contains both income or investments made during the marriage and amounts earned or deposited before the marriage, the calculation of the marital portion of the asset can become more complex.
Real estate investments can be the most difficult to value because you must consider the actual fair market value of the real estate if it were sold, but you must also calculate the potential for generating income when calculating the value for property division.
In some cases, expert witnesses and financial professionals may be required to assist in the valuation of investment assets. Individuals the parties may consider retaining to assist with the valuation of investment property include realtors, financial advisors, stock-brokers, certified public accountants, appraisers, and forensic accountants.
If a divorce is particularly antagonistic, a spouse may consider filing a petition requesting that the judge grants a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) regarding investment assets. A TRO prevents one of the spouses from attempting to divest or dispose of assets during the divorce proceeding. The assets are “frozen” so that neither spouse can transfer, liquidate, or other dispose of assets pending a final order of the court.
If a spouse believes the other spouse may attempt to conceal or liquidate investment assets, the spouse may want to request a TRO in the initial divorce petition. A party may request the judge to sign the TRO ex parte without a hearing. After the assets are protected, a hearing may be held to determine if further restrictions are necessary to protect marital assets.
Your situation is unique. Therefore, you do not want to base your decisions on general information or the outcome of another case. It is always best to consult an Illinois divorce attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and the steps you should take to protect your best interests and your financial future. Contact the Illinois property division attorneys at Goodman Law Firm today for help.
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