Why lose your shirt to divorce, when our experienced property division attorneys can safeguard your wealth?
Merel Family Law: Our property division attorneys are ready to ease your burdens and protect your valuable assets.
Let’s face it, divorce is hard, but losing the assets and wealth you’ve generated over the course of your life shouldn’t be the price you pay for ending an unhappy marriage.
Division of property is often a highly contested issue, no matter the extent of marital assets. While this process is overwhelming and seemingly impossible, our expert property division attorneys are here to help you find a fair and favorable resolution. No case is too complex for our team to handle.
We’ve helped our clients retain millions in assets. We’d like to do the same for you.
Why Trust Merel Family Law to Handle My Property Division Case?
Our clients are the type of people who demand and deserve world-class legal representation, and they won’t settle for anything less. So, we do our homework, stay on top of changes and emergent issues, prepare for every scenario, collaborate when it makes sense and fight like hell when it doesn’t.
We work just as hard to keep it. Our team of seasoned attorneys has worked diligently to help earn the respect of our Chicago-area colleagues, clients, judges, court systems and community, and we intend to keep it that way. In other words, our reputation speaks for itself.
All divorces are unique, and while we prefer to approach our clients’ cases in a spirit of collaboration and negotiation, we are also not afraid to “take the gloves off” when needed. In other words, our clients’ answer to the question, “What does winning look like to you?” informs our strategies, tactics and tone.
You’ll have peace of mind knowing we will never push you into a lengthy, costly and unnecessary court trial. However, we will use all legal remedies to protect your rights.
Our seasoned attorneys have specific expertise in cases involving women, LGBTQ+ couples, fathers, high-net-worth individuals, dissolution of long-term marriages, spouses who own businesses, appeals and more. We’ll ensure you’re represented by an experienced attorney who understands and respects your situation, the law and how best to work through your unique challenges.
Unlike other law firms, we know how important it is to manage our client’s expectations and be available to answer their questions and concerns outside of regular business hours. You can contact us by phone, text, or email around the clock.
Schedule an appointment at any one of our four in-person offices in Chicago, Hinsdale, Skokie and Highland Park, or conduct some or all of your alimony proceedings online via Zoom. In some instances, an in-court appearance may be required by the judge. If so, you’ll typically be given at least 30 days advance notice.
"Experienced attorney, sound legal strategy and favorable results"
Our 4-Step Process
What to Expect from Our Property Division Attorney Team and the Distribution Process
Step 1: Contact us by phone (312-408-7000) or email. Our intake coordinator will ask a few simple – and completely confidential – questions to connect you with the right lawyer. Depending on your schedule, your initial consultation could be scheduled as soon as the same day.
Step 2: Consult with your attorney. During your initial conversation with your property division attorney, you’ll be asked to share all aspects of your situation, including finances, property, businesses and children.
Step 3: Pay the retainer fee & legal process begins. All property division cases are different – some are easy and straightforward, others are extremely complex and most are somewhere between. We will use this type of criteria to assess your retainer fee amount. Additionally, some cases may be eligible for reduced or no cost.
Step 4: Your property division attorney will determine, communicate, and execute your case strategy. Initially, this could include providing financial information, submitting motions for discovery and more. After that information is assessed, the opposing party will be alerted and you will enter the mediation or litigation phase.
Merel Family Law By The Numbers
More Services To Secure Your Finances and Assets
Establishing financial responsibility and ownership during a separation can be complicated both legally and emotionally. Expert legal advice will help you settle any dispute in a fair and favorable way. Aspects of negotiating marriage finances can include alimony, property division, child support, college expenses, and debt separation. Our attorneys are well-versed in fighting for your best interests in and out of the courtroom and coming to a resolution you can live with peacefully.
Alimony, or spousal maintenance, is generally awarded in situations where one spouse is non-self-supporting financially. At Merel Family Law, we make sure a fair amount of spousal maintenance is determined either amicably or through litigation.
The court will consider these factors when awarding alimony:
- Income, assets, and debts of each party
- Current and future income-earning capacity
- Constraints on earning capacity like lack of education
- Duration of marriage
- Standard of living during the marriage
- Child custody and parenting time arrangements
- Age and health of each party
- Tax consequences of each party
Court orders for spousal support are taken very seriously by the state of Illinois. When a spouse is struggling to receive required alimony payments, it is vital that the law steps in to enforce payment. Penalties against the delinquent spouse can include:
- Being found in contempt of court
- Paying for opposing counsel court costs
- Extending duration of maintenance payments
- Garnishment of wages
- A lien placed on their property
- Criminal prosecution including fees and jail time
Terminating a marriage or civil union is complex, anxiety-inducing, and undoubtedly distressing. The skilled and assertive divorce attorneys at Merel Family Law are dedicated to providing you with unwavering support throughout the process. As our esteemed client, our commitment to you is to offer superior representation and ensure that someone is always there to address your inquiries and worries.
Get Represented by Top Property Division Attorneys
At Merel Family Law, our aim is to streamline the divorce and property division process for you. This begins with arranging a consultation with our knowledgeable intake coordinators. Next, our team of property division lawyers will offer the necessary support to guide you through the intricacies of financial and asset separation.
The Property Distribution Process & Property Division Lawyers
Frequently Asked Questions
In an Illinois divorce proceeding, the court categorizes a couple’s property as either “marital” or “non-marital,” which determines the assets eligible for division. As part of the dissolution action, both marital assets and marital debt are subject to division. The court is mandated by Section 503 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of property amassed during the marriage.
No, Illinois is an equitable division state, not a community property state. In a community property state, the value of all marital assets is divided equally. That’s not the case here. A court’s property division decision is based on many factors. Some of the considerations taken by the court include the length of the marriage, each spouse’s economic circumstances, the value of the property, and each spouse’s contribution to the marital estate, which can include the time spent caring for children and the home while the other spouse worked.
Under Illinois law, all property acquired by either spouse during a marriage is presumed to be a marital asset. This is true regardless of whose name the property is titled in or whose money was used to purchase the property. There are exceptions to this which include assets acquired by one spouse by way of gift, legacy, or descent (inheritance).
Non-marital property is any property acquired before the marriage or property acquired during the marriage by one spouse by way of gift, legacy, or descent. The deciding factor in how most assets are categorized is based on when they were purchased and by whom.
The way debts are divided is similar to how assets are divided. First, the debt needs to be categorized as marital or non-marital. Once this is decided, the court will consider these aspects to divide the debts equitably:
- Each spouse’s income and earning capacity
- Each spouse’s financial needs and obligations
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the debt
- The duration of the marriage
- The value of the marital assets assigned to each spouse
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time of the division
- Any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements between the parties
The dissipation of marital assets is when one spouse uses shared marital funds for their own benefit or for a non-marital purpose after the breakdown of marriage but before the divorce has been finalized. Upon a finding that dissipation was committed, a court may order the party responsible to repay the marital assets to make the other spouse whole. Common actions that qualify as dissipation are:
- Transferring money
- Concealing assets
- Large purchases
- Gambling losses
- Spending sprees
- Money spent during an extramarital affair
A retainer is an initial deposit required by attorneys and other professionals to commence representation. The retainer covers fees (billed based on hourly rates) and expenses. If the retainer is used up, the client will be responsible for any additional fees incurred beyond the retainer. If the case is finalized and a portion of the retainer is unused, that portion will be refunded back to the client.
In every case, it takes a village. We have a full-service staff and a large team of attorneys to help with your situation. We use a variety of attorneys, both partners and associates alike, to resolve your case and keep costs down. We also consult with industry experts, such as tax advisors, financial consultants, and forensic accountants, to ensure that all property is fairly valued and divided.