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Separate accounts will not protect assets from property division

Many people in Illinois want to plan for the future. For couples who are getting married, this often means taking measures that could potentially aid with the property division process in the event of a subsequent divorce. While there are some actions that can protect assets, certain misconceptions could ultimately leave some people vulnerable.

Many people, especially those who experienced divorce as a family, are interested in these measures. For example, over 25% of people are choosing to keep their assets separate from their spouses -- an increase in comparison to previous generations. However, the belief that keeping accounts separate will protect them from division in the event of a divorce is erroneous.

Marital assets in Illinois are distributed equitably, not necessarily equally. However, keeping an account or real estate in only one person's name does not mean a judge will not determine that a person must divide that asset as part of an agreement with the other spouse. While keeping separate accounts could help prevent or reduce conflict, according to some financial planning professionals, doing so -- except in the case of an inheritance, for example -- will likely provide little financial protection. 

There are some measures that can actually protect a premarital asset. Some people may choose to print out account statements showing the value of the accounts just prior to a wedding. However, another way to protect assets from property division is through the creation of a prenuptial agreement, which can outline how assets will be divided. An experienced family law attorney can help a person considering marriage fully understand the available tools to protect assets.

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