Dividing marital assets and debts is one of the more challenging aspects of your Illinois divorce. Even in seemingly amicable divorces, things can quickly take a turn. Those couples who have been married for a long time or have a complex asset portfolio may find the process of property division to be even more challenging. No matter what your financial situation is, you can always benefit from retaining a skilled Rolling Meadows divorce attorney.
Illinois is an Equitable Distribution State
When it comes to asset distribution, Illinois follows the legal theory known as equitable distribution. This is an entirely different process than a community property state. In a community property state, assets and liabilities might be split right down the middle 50/50. With equitable distribution, it means the courts divide everything in an equitable manner. Some assets may go to one spouse while the other gets the remaining ones. The idea is that both parties walk away with a fair share of the marital estate.
When determining how to divide the assets, courts will consider many factors. Some of these include, but are not limited to:
- The health and age of each spouse. Is it unrealistic to expect that one spouse can now seek gainful employment if they have a disability, are in ill health, or are elderly?
- Each spouse’s employment history, skills, training, etc.
- Value of the marital property and how long you were married.
- What did each party contribute to preserving, obtaining, or growing the property?
- Did either spouse ever transfer marital property to use for non-marital purposes (like an affair)?
- Does one or both spouses have any support obligations from a prior marriage or relationship?
- Does one spouse have significantly more non-marital property than the other?
Illinois is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. That means if you are hoping to prove fault to take all the marital assets, it is not likely worth your time. Illinois courts really only look at whether marital funds were used for non-marital purposes, like funding an extra-marital affair. Outside of misuse of funds, the court will not consider whether there was marital misconduct.
Determining Separate and Marital Property
When you are getting a divorce, only marital property is subject to equitable distribution. Any property that belongs to either of you individually will not be included. Determining what is separate property and what is marital property can be confusing in some situations. Some assets get commingled and can lose their identity. These assets will be considered transmuted from separate property to marital property. One example is an inheritance that a spouse receives. While typically regarded as separate property, using those funds to pay for marital expenses during the marriage means they could now be considered marital property.
Contact an Illinois Divorce Lawyer Today
If you are filing for a divorce in Illinois, do not attempt to handle it yourself. Let an experienced Rolling Meadows divorce lawyer help you. Contact SAM LAW OFFICE LLC today to schedule an initial consultation.