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How Are the Investments Divided in a Divorce?

The division of marital property upon divorce is one of the most complicated components of divorce, and it has the potential to become the most hotly contested issue in nearly any divorce. Even the division of basic marital assets can become exceptionally complicated exceptionally quickly, but when investments are involved, it can elevate the inherent challenges to the next level. If you are facing a divorce involving considerable investments, you shouldn’t put off consulting with an experienced Chicago divorce attorney

The Division of Marital Property: The Basics

Before we can explore how investments are divided in a divorce, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how marital assets, in general, are divided in an Illinois divorce. All those assets that you and your spouse acquire when you are married are considered marital property, and it doesn’t matter who attaches his or her name to the item in question or who made the purchase. If it came to you while you were married – other than as an inheritance or as a gift in one of your names only – it is a marital asset that must be divided equitably – or fairly – upon divorce. 

While your separate property that you brought into your marriage with you will remain separate as long as you don’t allow it to mix and mingle with your marital assets – this is a high threshold. Finally, even if you manage to carefully maintain the separate nature of separate property, any increase in its value will be considered marital, and you likely see where this is going in relation to investments. 

Your Investments

Investment tools – such as the following – that are acquired during your marriage are marital property like anything else, and they will need to be divided between you in a manner that is ultimately deemed equitable:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Commodity accounts 
  • Mutual funds 

One pronounced attribute of investments is that they can fluctuate considerably in value, which makes their equitable distribution tricky at best. While there are laws in place to help address this issue, it’s complicated.  

The Deferred Distribution Option

The court will take multiple factors into consideration in the determination of a fair division of investments, including:

  • The stock’s vesting schedule
  • Whether the investment was granted for past, present, or future work efforts on the job (if work-related)
  • The length of time between the granting of the investment and the date upon which it can be exercised

Sometimes, the best approach is deemed to be the wait-and-see approach, which is officially known as deferred distribution. In such situations, the values of the investments are allocated between the parties at later dates – when the investment tools are exercised.  

Don’t Delay Consulting with an Experienced Chicago Divorce Attorney

If you are facing a divorce involving considerable investments, the formidable Chicago divorce attorneys at WARD FAMILY LAW have extensive experience successfully orchestrating the equitable distribution of significant assets – while carefully protecting our clients’ financial rights. For more information about how we can also help you, please do not wait to contact us today.

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