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Dividing intangible assets in Illinois divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2023 | Divorce

An intangible asset is a property without physical form but may have significant economic value to the owner. Illinois divorce courts treat such assets as tangible pieces of marital property, assigning value and dividing them between the two spouses based on their unique circumstances.

Health insurance

Since an employer often provides health insurance, the court considers it a benefit owned by both parties during the marriage. The judge may award one party with exclusive coverage or require both parties to maintain separate policies until they finalize the divorce. Afterward, the court may require one spouse to pay the other for their portion of health insurance premiums.

Social Security benefits

Generally, these benefits are not split during a divorce, but courts can use them as an income source when calculating alimony. This means whichever party is eligible for social security will receive it, while the other partner must find another form of income to cover their financial needs.

Incentive stock options

Employers sometimes award their employees with an option to purchase a certain number of stocks at a predetermined favorable price after some time. To determine its value, courts will consider several factors, such as the length of service, vesting period and stock performance history. The court may then award a portion to each party based on individual circumstances.

Business goodwill

Let’s say your partner decides to buy you out of the company. They will have to determine the worth of the business’s physical assets, such as cash, fixtures and inventory, and the value of business goodwill. Goodwill is an intangible asset that reflects the financial benefits of a brand name or customer base associated with a particular business. The court will have to assign a monetary amount to the goodwill and award a portion to each partner.

When going through a divorce, it’s critical for partners to understand the true value and extent of their non-physical assets. Each case is unique and requires a different approach to establishing a fair and equitable settlement.

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