Jay Frank and Staci Balbirer Attain Family Law Victory Before 19th Judicial Circuit Court Regarding the Difference Between Marital Assets and Income


Aronberg Goldgehn members Jay Frank and Staci Balbirer recently secured judgment before the Circuit Court of the 19th Judicial Circuit of Lake County on behalf of a divorced client. The case involved an ex-spouse who claimed commission earned mostly pre-decree but paid post-divorce constituted a marital asset to be divided 50/50 between the parties per the Marital Settlement Agreement.

Approximately 38 days after the dissolution judgment, the Petitioner received a substantial commission for work performed mostly during the marriage.

The Respondent filed a Petition to Allocate Marital Asset claiming that the commission did not qualify as employment income, but rather was a marital asset that should be divided between the parties per the Marital Settlement Agreement.

The Circuit Court rejected the Respondent’s claim and ruled in favor of the Petitioner finding the commission to be income, not an asset subject to division. Furthermore, in view of the specific wording of the Marital Settlement Agreement, only a very small portion of the commission was considered for the Respondent’s maintenance true up even though it was mostly earned during the marriage.

As to the issue of income versus property, the court’s decision differentiates marital assets from employment income in matters with little precedence available. In essence, it provides that employment commissions earned are not property to be divided by the parties and instead constitute income which can only be used to calculate maintenance.

Jay Frank is a senior matrimonial attorney with more than 45 years of numerous achievements. Representing a wide variety of clients, he has successfully pursued, traced and valued valuable assets and successfully litigated or negotiated premarital agreements, property distributions, support awards and custody and visitation arrangements.

Staci Balbirer concentrates her practice in divorce and family law that encompasses issues related to complex financial matters, the allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, maintenance, property division, pre-and post-nuptial agreements, orders of protection and international custody disputes.

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