Complex Divorce Specialist in Chicago

If you’re getting divorced and have problems agreeing on significant terms, such as what to do with your properties, assets, and custody, you should consult with an expert divorce attorney.

The stakes are even higher when significant assets are involved because finalizing the divorce equitably may be a lengthy and frequently painful process.

What is Complex Divorce?

Divorces that are categorized as “complex” typically involve a variety of contested issues. Divorce is already emotionally hard, and in cases with high net worth marital assets, international spouses, or even complex debt, there is a lot to deal with, including alimony, custody, and child support issues.

A divorce involving complex issues requires excellent legal knowledge and problem-solving skills. This is especially true when your divorce involves any of the following elements:

  • Family businesses, professional partnerships, or other closely-held assets;
  • Ownership of business entities, highly valued collections, real estate, employee pacts, and benefit plans, deferred compensation
  • Financial properties requiring comprehensive forensic examination to determine the value or the nature of the assets in question
  • A determination and review of intangible property, debt distribution, and tax responsibilities
  • Properties in foreign countries or other states
  • Assets and investments in other countries or states

Financial Factors to Consider During a Complex Divorce Case in Chicago

Divorces involving complex matters are most common among middle-class families. Divorces involving business ownership by either spouse are more complicated and layered, regardless of the willingness of both parties to cooperate. Partnerships and other entrepreneurial ventures held within a marriage add a new element of complexity to the equation. It is often difficult to determine the best arrangement for an equitable distribution since highly valued properties can be affected by various tax considerations and intricate fair distribution laws.

Some of the typical concerns in high net-worth divorces include:

  • Getting an accurate value of the family-owned business
  • Division of the marital properties
  • Division of Stocks options, pensions, 401(k)s, IRA, and deferred compensation 
  • One spouse having higher earnings due to their degrees and or licenses
  • One spouse having sacrificed to allow the other to travel and or earn more
  • One spouse has been the responsible stay at home parent
  • Unearthing Hidden Assets
  • Determining fair alimony / spousal support for a long-term marriage
  • Getting pre-and post-nuptial agreements enforced

With each factor, for consideration beyond the joint ownership, allocation of property, and marriage and children issues, divorce becomes more complex.

Marital Vs. Separate Property

No matter which party’s name is associated with an asset, it must be cataloged for equitable distribution unless it is separate property, not marital property. Thus, part of the job involved in high-net-worth divorces is determining which properties are marital and which ones are not.

Marital property refers to property that came into possession during the marriage through marital efforts. In contrast, a property is considered separate if you acquired it before the marriage or after the start of divorce proceedings. This can include gifts received from third parties, inheritances, and settlements from personal injury claims. Separate properties are entitled to some protections during divorce, so don’t mix them with marital assets.

Sorting out marital and separate properties is usually done with the help of various business analysts, accountants, and property appraisers. They help catalog, sort, and value all properties. In addition, marital properties are subject to distribution procedures.

Illinois Equitable Distribution of Marital Properties

Illinois is an equitable distribution state. But even though the law requires that marital property be distributed equitably, this does not mean that it will be divided equally between the divorcing couple. The court considers all of the evidence and makes a judgment based on what it deems fair. In many circumstances, 60:40 or even 70:30 splits are “Equitable” does not necessarily mean equal value, and in specific cases, the majority of the marital estate could be given to one spouse.

Does This Mean Cases of Marital Misconduct on Your Other Spouse Will Play in Your Favor?

Several factors set out in the law guide the court in its decision-making process. Marital misconduct, however is not one of them. Illinois is a “no-fault” state; While your spouse may have participated in multiple affairs and contributed to the end of your marriage, marital property will still be distributed equitably without recognizing the harm done by the spouse’s misdeeds. Factors that influence most settlements include:

  • How much each partner contributed “to the acquisition, maintenance, or appreciation or depreciation of the marital property; this means homemaker contribution and attorney fees figure out in the calculations.
  • Hidden or wasted assets
  • Dissipation
  • Value of marital and non-marital properties assigned. For example, the spouse with a sizeable separate property may be given a larger percentage of the marital debts or smaller % of assets.
  • Duration of the marriage to factor in homemaker’s contribution and limit what non-employed spouses get
  • Economic circumstances
  • Prior marriages, for example, if you have children to take care of from a previous relationship.
  • Pre- and post-nuptial agreements and their validity
  • Situational status: age, health, employment
  • Future income possibilities
  • Custodial provisions for children
  • The tax consequences of the property distributions

You must work with a legal counsel familiar with these factors because they influence over 95 percent of all settlement cases. In addition, reasonable complex divorce attorneys collaborate with a network of experts, such as forensic accountants, appraisers, business valuers, and vocational experts, to prepare and present their case because often, the financial component of high-net-worth divorces is influenced by what these experts unearth and opine.

Contact Brigitte Schmidt Bell, P.C, divorce complex specialist in Chicago.

For years, Brigitte Schmidt Bell, P.C., has handled complex divorce proceedings for high-net-worth clients throughout the Chicagoland area. We understand the nuances involved in high net-worth divorces and provide professional, expert counsel inside and outside the courthouse and negotiation table. We are well-known for our transparency, dedication, and commitment to every client. Every case is different, and that’s why we pay attention to the individual circumstances of your case to make it stronger.

If your divorce involves complex matters such as high-net-worth assets or private practice or the need for discretion and confidentiality, please contact us. We’d be happy to discuss the issues with you so you learn how we can be of service to you. Please give us a call at 847-733-0933 or visit our office for a free consultation.

© 2021 Brigitte Schmidt Bell, P.C