The division of marital property is one of most disputed considerations in any divorce. Much of the disagreement is the result of each spouse believing that he or she should be entitled to keep certain assets. While you and your spouse will eventually need to decide who will be getting what, you can start preparing long before either of you files your petition for divorce.
List Everything You Own
When you recognize that divorce may be imminent, you should begin compiling a list of everything you and your spouse own. No matter how insignificant an item may seem, put it on the list. In a divorce—especially one that could become hostile—there is no such thing as too much information. Your list should include homes, vehicles, savings, investments, business interests, furniture, appliances, books, computers, and jewelry. It should also include all of your debts, as those must also be accounted for during property division.
When Did You Get It?
As you write down each asset or debt, make every effort to remember when it was acquired. For more valuable assets, purchase records can provide this information. Most people, however, do not keep sales receipts for everything they have ever bought, and that is understandable. If you cannot remember a specific date that a particular asset was acquired, at least denote whether it acquired before or after the marriage. This is a very important part of the process because Illinois law recognizes almost all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage to be part of the marital estate and subject to division.
How Much Is It Worth?
Your inventory should also include an estimated value for each asset and debt. This step may take more time than the others, as determining how much something is worth can be complex. Valuating certain assets and debts may require the assistance of outside professionals such as real estate appraisers, financial planners, and others. If you choose to hire such experts, be sure to keep a record of your expenditures so that there are no questions later on as to where the money went.
A Lawyer Can Help
When a divorce is on the horizon and getting closer, the assistance of a qualified lawyer can be invaluable. Contact an experienced Orland Park divorce attorney and get the help you need in preparing for the long road ahead. Call 708-518-8200 to speak with a member of the team at Kezy & Associates today.