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How Do You Find Hidden Assets in a Divorce?Negotiating the division of property in a divorce begins with identifying the properties that you and your spouse own. Marital properties are the ones that you will equitably divide between each other. Non-marital or separate properties belong to only one of you, though knowing their value is relevant when deciding on financial matters in your divorce. You and your divorce attorney will at times need to cooperate with your spouse to obtain records on your marital and separate assets. However, spouses sometimes hide valuable assets during divorce so that they do not have to share them or to make it appear that they have fewer financial resources. Hidden assets can skew the financial balance of your divorce agreement, and you need to work with your attorney if you believe that your spouse may have hidden assets.

What Are You Looking For?

Hidden assets can be secret financial accounts or luxury items that your spouse is holding in a place that you are not aware of. A spouse can more easily hide assets when they own a business or are the only one who manages their marital finances. If you are unsure whether your spouse has hidden assets, you can start by obtaining copies of their income tax returns or loan applications. In those documents, you are looking for:

  • Unidentified assets
  • Unexplained transactions
  • Discrepancies between the income they told you and the income they reported

If your attorney finds suspicious information, they may trace it to a separate bank account or discover that the assets were temporarily transferred to another person.

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When Can You Reduce or Terminate Spousal Maintenance?Spousal maintenance payments are reviewable and modifiable after a divorce unless you expressly say in the agreement that they are nonmodifiable. As the payer, there may come a point when you need to reduce the maintenance payments or terminate them. When are you allowed to modify and when can you eliminate your payments? How would you make this change? Some maintenance agreements have a designated review date, during which the court can decide whether to extend or adjust payments. You can also file a petition for modification of spousal maintenance, in which you must prove that a change in circumstances allows you to reduce or terminate your maintenance payments.

When Can You Reduce Payments?

Modifications to spousal maintenance most often occur because of a change in income for one of the parties. For instance, you may have lost your job or your pay may have been significantly reduced. While you still have some income, you can no longer afford the same maintenance payments while also paying for your living expenses. Another example is if your former spouse gets a new job that increases their income. It is no longer necessary for them to receive the same amount of maintenance because their ability to support themselves has increased. The court will decide whether to grant your modification request based on what it deems to be appropriate for your situation.

When Can You Terminate Payments?

You may be able to stop your spousal maintenance payments altogether if one of the following circumstances applies to your case:

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Divorce Rates Continue to Decline in Illinois, U.S.When it comes to citing the divorce rate in the U.S., it is popular to claim that half of all marriages end in divorce. It suggests that divorces are on the rise and that the institution of marriage is crumbling. While there was a point starting in the 1970s when divorces suddenly increased, it has been about 40 years since the divorce rate was at its peak. Most divorce studies agree that the supposed 50 percent divorce rate is no longer accurate – if it ever was. Statistics point to two marital trends in the U.S.: The divorce rate is going down, but so is the marriage rate.

Looking at the Trends

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report on marriage and divorce rates from 2008 to 2018. The report calculated its rates by counting the number of women who were married or divorced for every 1,000 women age 15 and older. According to the report:

  • The national marriage rate decreased from 17.9 in 2008 to 16.6 in 2018
  • The national divorce rate decreased from 10.5 in 2008 to 7.7 in 2018

Illinois actually went against the national trend. While its divorce rate decreased about the same amount as the national average, its marriage rate increased slightly. As compared to the other states, Illinois has one of the lowest divorce rates and a marriage rate that is almost exactly the same as the national average.

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Why Illinois Uses ‘Allocation of Parental Responsibilities’ Instead of ‘Child Custody’In 2016, Illinois made major changes to its law regarding parents who have divorced or separated. The term “child custody” was replaced with “the allocation of parental responsibilities,” and “visitation” was replaced with “parenting time.” These were more than simply new names for legal terms. They represented a new approach to co-parenting that the state hoped would be better for children. This summer will mark the five-year anniversary of the bill that created these changes being signed into law – making it a good time to revisit what these terms mean and what they are trying to accomplish.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Child custody is a common term in family law statutes across the country and in popular vernacular. In Illinois, the law at one time granted sole or joint custody of the children following a divorce or separation. Illinois changed its laws so it is assumed that both parents will share responsibility for the children, including:

  • Dividing parenting time in a way that is best for the children
  • Determining how the parents will raise the children
  • Defining what decision-making power each parent has and when they must get the other parent’s consent

The word “custody” is often associated with one parent having primary control over the children. Illinois changed the term to “the allocation of parental responsibilities” because it better describes how each parent has rights and responsibilities and an important role in continuing to raise the children. “Custody” is now used to describe when a non-parent assumes responsibility for a child.

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How Do You Continue Your Health Insurance After Divorce?Divorce changes your life in many small ways that you do not consider when you start the process. Health insurance is a good example of this because spouses are commonly on the same insurance plan. You have little to worry about if your spouse was on your employer’s insurance plan. Your children can remain on your family plan, or you can switch to an individual plan if you do not have children. If you were on your spouse’s insurance plan, you may be able to receive insurance through your own employer. Your divorce makes you immediately eligible to enroll in or change your insurance plan. If health insurance through work is not an option, you have other options that you need to consider.

Continuation Coverage

Illinois law allows you to stay on your former spouse’s health insurance for a limited time. If you are younger than 55 at the time of your divorce, you can continue the coverage for two years. If you are older than 55, you can continue the coverage until you are eligible for Medicare. There are several requirements for receiving continuation coverage:

  • Your spouse’s insurance must be a group plan.
  • You have 30 days after your divorce judgment to notify your spouse’s employer of your intention to continue coverage.
  • You must pay the same premium as you would if you were an employee on the plan.

Continuation coverage is only a temporary solution and may be difficult to afford if you have a low income. However, it prevents a gap in your health insurance coverage and buys you time to come up with a long-term solution.

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