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Burr Ridge gray divorce attorney

Although the overall divorce rate in the United States has been declining, there is one demographic that is experiencing a major increase with regard to the number of couples getting divorced. Interestingly, the divorce rate for adults over age 50 has doubled in the last few decades. Getting divorced after age 50, referred to as “gray divorce,” can be much more complicated than divorcing at a younger age. If you are considering ending your marriage, and you are nearing retirement age, there are certain considerations you should keep in mind.

Property Division During a “Gray Divorce” Can Be Complex

Older couples typically own higher-value and more complex assets than younger couples do. Assets like businesses, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, investments, and social security benefits can be difficult to value and divide. Retirement accounts are usually considered a marital asset, which is subject to division under Illinois equitable distribution laws during a divorce. However, funds accumulated in an IRA, 401(k), or pension before a couple got married may be considered non-marital and therefore not subject to division. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to get a court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which dictates how retirement account funds are divided between divorcing spouses.

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Hinsdale asset and property division attorney

One of the most contentious parts of the divorce process is often the division of marital property. Divorcing couples have the option of dividing property on their own, but couples who cannot reach an agreement will require court intervention. Illinois courts divide marital assets and debts according to “equitable distribution.” Unlike other states that divide the marital estate exactly in half, Illinois instead considers a variety of factors to determine an asset division arrangement that is fair and reasonable for both spouses. If a couple has a high net worth or owns complex assets, the property division process can become especially complicated.

Differentiating Between Separate and Marital Property is Not Always Straightforward

Only marital property is divided during an Illinois divorce. Marital property generally includes property obtained by either spouse during the marriage. Separate property typically includes any assets or debts that the spouses acquired before the marriage took place as well as certain gifts and inheritances acquired throughout the union. Differentiating between separate and marital property is not always as easy as it may seem. Assets that are commingled can lose their identity and be transmuted from separate property to marital property. For example, if a spouse receives an inheritance from a relative during the marriage, those funds are typically considered separate property. However, if the spouse uses some of those funds to pay for shared expenses during the marriage, the funds may be transmuted into marital property.  

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Burr Ridge high-asset divorce attorney

The divorce experience is different for everyone. A young couple who does not have children, own a home, or have valuable assets may be able to get a divorce relatively quickly and effortlessly. The more assets you own and the more complex those assets are, the more likely it is that you will have a complicated divorce. If you are planning to end your marriage, and you and your spouse have a high net worth, own complex assets, or have high-value assets, your divorce may involve more negotiations. There is much more at stake in a high asset divorce, so it is crucial for couples in this situation to be informed about the unique issues presented by a high asset or complex asset divorce.

Child Support and Spousal Maintenance Payments Are Usually Much Larger

Illinois child support orders are decided using the “Income Shares” method. This approach involves evaluating each spouse’s income, determining the total amount of support for which the parents are collectively responsible, and then splitting the cost between the spouses in proportion to their incomes. Similar to property division, the spouses’ financial circumstances must be fully understood before a child support order can be entered by the court.

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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