Like most other states, Illinois follows the theory of equitable distribution when it comes to dividing marital assets in a divorce. This means the property and any marital debts will be divided in a fair and equitable manner. With a community property state, assets are essentially split 50/50 during a divorce. With equitable distribution, it means that the end result should be fair and equitable for both parties, but it does not mean that each spouse will walk away with 50% of each asset. Perhaps you will get one piece of property while your ex gets the yacht, etc.
Determining What is Marital Property in Illinois
The courts have a number of guidelines they look at when determining how to divide marital assets when the couple cannot reach an agreement on their own. One of the biggest challenges is determining what is marital property and what is separate property. This is where the guidance of an Illinois property division divorce attorney is important. At the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC, our Illinois divorce attorneys will make sure your rights are protected and that you are getting the share of the assets to which you are entitled.
Non-marital property in Illinois includes property that is acquired by a spouse prior to getting married. It can also include gifted or inherited property, as well as any income (or value increases) that are derived from non-marital property. There is an option for both spouses to agree to exclude property from the marital estate, but it must be done through a valid agreement.
All other property is then deemed to be marital property and subject to division during the divorce process. The court will look at up to 12 factors to determine how the marital assets should be divided.
Factors Courts Use to Determine How to Split Marital Property
The factors that a court may use to determine how to split marital property include:
- Each spouse’s individual economic situation
- Needs of each party
- Income-earning potential
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marital estate (this does include a homemaker)
- Custodial provisions
- Individual factors of each spouse — age, occupation, employability, liabilities, health, etc.
- Does the apportionment take the place of, or is in addition to, spousal maintenance?
- Potential tax consequences
- Obligations or rights one or both spouses have from any prior marriages
The courts are required to consider all factors set forth by Illinois statutes, but there is no legal obligation they explain which ones they relied on most or weighed as a priority in their decision making. If you can reach an agreement on your own, it is often better, as both parties often feel slighted when the courts make the determination. Working with a skilled Illinois divorce attorney can help resolve any outstanding issues you and your spouse may still have.
Contact an Illinois Divorce Attorney
If you need assistance with a pending divorce, contact the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC today to schedule an initial consultation. Let one of our skilled property division attorneys help you through this difficult and challenging time.