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Do I Have to Split My Bonus With My Spouse if We Are Getting Divorced?

 Posted on January 11, 2023 in Asset Division

IL divorce lawyerAs a marriage begins to irretrievably break down, both spouses are usually aware that they are headed for divorce. One of the most common consequences of this knowledge is the gradual separation of each spouse’s income and belongings, especially if one spouse moves out or plans to move out. However, despite their best efforts at separating personal and marital property, spouses must still face the scrutiny of a judge’s approval when getting divorced.

Following Illinois law on property division when it comes to things like bonuses, stock options, performance incentives, etc., can be challenging - especially when spouses disagree about whether they should share this compensation. Read on to learn how bonuses are handled in Illinois divorces and then schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.

How Are Bonuses Handled in Illinois Divorces?

Under the law, marital assets and debts must be divided fairly. This does not necessarily mean equally, and spouses are free to propose or negotiate asset divisions that they both consider fair, although any proposal must be approved by a judge.

Unless it is protected specifically by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, income received by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property. And unlike some states in which property division stops once a couple files for divorce, Illinois requires divorcing couples to split their income all the way up until the divorce is finalized.

Added to this is the fact that bonuses are rarely promised as part of a work contract; rather, they are contingent on certain factors, such as the employee continuing his or her work for the company or meeting certain performance metrics. This means the way that a bonus is handled will depend on when it is received and whether it is described in the employee’s employment contract.

For example, if a bonus is contractually guaranteed (this is less common), then even if it was paid after the divorce is finalized, it is considered earned during the marriage and must be divided. However, if a bonus is handled normally, it is not guaranteed, so whether it is divided between spouses will depend on whether the spouses are still married or not. A couple that is still married divides the bonus; an already divorced couple does not.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer

Handling matters of income can be a sensitive process during a divorce. At Goostree Law Group, we strive to advocate for your best interests while following Illinois law, keeping you safe and ensuring the most favorable outcome for your case. Call our offices today at 630-364-4046 to schedule your free, confidential consultation with one of our DuPage County divorce attorneys.




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