PROTECT YOUR SEPARATE PROPERTY FROM DIVORCE BY TRACKING IT
Some couples in Illinois choose to sign an agreement before marriage to ensure that the spouses each maintain ownership of their own property should the relationship end in divorce or death. While these prenuptial agreements can certainly be helpful, they are not the only way that separate property can be protected from divorce. Other methods can be just as effective and may help Divorce lawyers in Chicago determine what property should be counted as separate property
Create an accounting system
In Illinois, any property acquired prior to a marriage or received as a gift or inheritance during a marriage is considered separate property, but can become marital property if used to support the marital estate. Keeping complete and thorough records of separate property is essential for those who want to avoid the commingling of assets. There are many computerize accounting systems that can be useful in tracking separate accounts, assets and any income derived from those accounts.
Maintain a balance sheet
Without a prenuptial agreement, separate property can be inventoried, valued and placed on a balance sheet at the beginning of a marriage. Divorce lawyers in Chicago may be able to recommend a CPA or other business expert to assist with the valuation of assets. If needed for certain assets, such as real estate, jewelry or valuable collections, up-to-date appraisals can be maintained on the balance sheet as well.
Keep bank accounts separate
Separate bank accounts are necessary to keep separate property separate from the marital estate, since shared bank accounts are subject to property division under state law. Any income from marital property should not be deposited into a couple’s separate property accounts, because doing so can change the character of the separate property to marital. Marital accounts should be used to pay for family expenses, including down payments, while separate property investments should only be paid from separate accounts.
Maintain a general ledger
A month-to-month or annual summary of activity of an account is called a general ledger, which can be another good way to keep thorough records. Maintaining a general ledger of each separate and marital account can be a good way to make sure that commingling is not going on unnoticed. It can be much easier to track the movement of funds when there is written evidence of where income is coming from and where it is going.
Divorce lawyers in Chicago may be a helpful resource for individuals who want to maintain separate property after they marry. Speaking with an attorney might clear up common misconceptions about the correct treatment of separate and marital assets.
Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.
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