Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

How Can I Prepare for My Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on November 03, 2020 in Divorce

Kane County divorce attorney asset division

Most couples who end up getting divorced usually see it coming months, if not years, before the papers are actually filed. It is not an uncommon scenario for a husband and wife to stay together long after they both realize their marriage is over. For anyone who is in this situation, there are steps that should be taken before the divorce process begins in order to ensure there is an equitable division of assets and no surprises for either party during divorce negotiations.

Financial Documents

If you are contemplating divorce or suspect that your spouse is, the first step you should take is to gather copies of all of your financial records, including:

  • Bank statements, such as checking and saving accounts, certificate of deposits (CDs), etc.

  • Retirement account statements (401k, pension)

  • Tax returns

  • Deeds to any properties, both jointly and solely owned

  • Mortgage statements and HUD documents

  • Home equity lines of credit statements

  • Property tax bills

  • Appraisals of real estate or business interests

  • Rental receipts and leases for any rental property owned

Any documents pertaining to financial accounts that you own should go back between three to five years if possible. All real estate documents should go back to when you purchased the property.

Assets and Debts

Once all financial documents have been gathered, the next step is to compile a list of all the assets the couple owns, as well as all the debt they owe. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that any assets or property a couple has amassed during their marriage is subject to a fair division upon divorce

The courts do not necessarily look at which spouse’s name is on a bank account or on a property deed. If the asset was acquired during the marriage, then the court considers it part of the marital estate. There are some exceptions to this rule, and a knowledgeable divorce attorney will help you navigate through the property and asset division process.

Change Estate Planning Documents

There are several important estate planning decisions that a person considering divorce will have to make. For example, if you do not want your spouse to be able to make medical or end-of-life decisions on your behalf, then you will need to update your power of attorney documents, living will, or any advanced directive you may have drafted. You may also need to draft a new will to prevent your spouse from inheriting your assets. These are all decisions that a divorce attorney can help you make.



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