Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C.

Divorce and finances: many complicating factors

By any measure, money is a significant factor in many divorces. Tension over financial issues may contribute to causing the divorce in the first place. But the issues don't end, just because you're splitting up. They just take a different form.

Divorce in Rockford is no different in this respect than divorce anywhere else in the country. If you are considering divorce, you need to realistically assess how much money you'll need to start your new life.

For couples with kids, child support will need to be worked out. But financial issues in a divorce affect all types of couples, regardless of whether children are involved.

In an Illinois divorce, property falls into two basic categories: marital and non-marital. Marital property is subject to division. Non-marital property is not; it stays with the spouse who had it in the first place.

Keep in mind that even if only one spouse's name is on a certain account, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's separate property. For example, one spouse may have substantial retirement accounts through a 401(k), pension or other savings vehicle. If the money was earned during the marriage, it will probably be considered marital property - even if the account is solely in one spouse's name.

Another financial factor, of course, is your house. A few years ago, before the housing crisis and the Great Recession, this was almost always an asset. Prices kept going up, and it was often merely a matter of dividing up the benefits of substantial appreciation in value.

Today, however, things are quite different. You may be underwater on your mortgage. Selling the house as part of a divorce settlement may not be a very realistic proposition, at least not anytime soon.

It may also be difficult for the spouse who moves of the house to get a new mortgage. After all, underwriting standards have tightened considerably. And jobs are a lot harder to come by.

Source: "Four ways to protect finances in a divorce," Lela Davidson, Chicago Parent, 10-5-12

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