Ensuring a Fair and Equitable Division of Assets During Divorce
No couple expects their marriage will end in divorce when they first get married. The beginning of a marriage is a typically a time of peak trust and solidarity, with spouses willingly assuming the roles believed to contribute to a happy and successful union, “Until death do us part.” However, it is important for both spouses to understand their rights, especially when it comes to ownership of the assets they have acquired over the course of their marriage.
Even in a society that is gradually becoming less gendered in matters of economic opportunity, it is still common for one spouse to assume the role of income earner, and the other the role of stay-at-home parent. In such an arrangement, a knowledge gap may come to exist with regard to the marriage’s income, assets, liabilities, investments, and other financial information, with the income-earning spouse handling most financial matters and the stay-at-home parent focused on crucial parenting responsibilities, such as the education, healthcare, nutrition, and transport of the children.
When the unthinkable happens and the marriage ends divorce, the stay-at-home parent must suddenly close this financial knowledge gap, prepare for life as both a parent and manager of finances, and ensure that he or she receives, in addition to all appropriate child support and spousal maintenance, an equitable portion of the marriage’s assets. When there exists reason to suspect that the income earning spouse is not cooperating in the equitable division required under state law, it is necessary to utilize the legal process of income discovery.
Illinois Law Demands a Fair and Equitable Division of Marital Assets
Under Illinois law, the physical property and financial assets that a divorcing couple owns, as well as the debts that they owe, must be divided in a “fair and equitable” manner. This does not necessarily mean that all assets and debts will be split in half, but that each spouse will retain a fair and just portion of the marital property. This division of assets is separate from child support and spousal support, which a stay-at-home parent will often receive if the marriage was of even an ordinary duration and they have the majority of the parenting time with their children following divorce.
If the income-earning spouse attempts to deprive the other spouse of an equitable division of assets by using his or her knowledge of the marital finances to hide certain assets, property, or investments, the legal process of discovery may be used to compel the disclosure of all assets subject to equitable division under state law. In these cases, the other spouse’s attorney may use interrogatories, subpoenas, depositions, or other methods to determine the existence and value of all marital assets, ensuring that they are divided correctly.
Divorce Discovery Experience in Illinois
If you have reason to suspect that your spouse is resisting an equitable division by hiding income or assets, the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC can advocate for your legal rights and work to obtain information from relevant financial parties. If you want to know more about how we can help you achieve a fair and equitable outcome to your divorce, contact a Wheaton divorce lawyer at 630-836-8540 to schedule a free consultation.
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