Dividing Marital Property in an Illinois Divorce

property, Arlington Heights divorce lawyerIt is a trope often repeated in movies, television shows, and popular music. When a couple gets divorced, everyone “knows” that each spouse gets half of all of the couple’s property, including the assets that each person had coming into the marriage—unless, of course, the couple had a prenup. This well-known “fact,” however, is not a fact at all, at least not in the state of Illinois. In some states, marital property is divided exactly in half—though what constitutes marital still does not usually include previously-owned assets. In Illinois, the laws regarding property division in divorce are based on the principles of equitable distribution, meaning that each spouse receives part of the marital estate but not necessarily in equal proportions.

Equal is Not Always Fair

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that when a divorcing couple cannot agree on how to divide their marital property, the court will allocate their assets and debts in a manner that is fair and just. Nowhere in the law is there a guarantee that the split should be 50/50. Instead, the court will examine the circumstances of the marriage and of each party to determine how much of the marital estate each spouse should receive to ensure that neither is placed at an unnecessary financial disadvantage.

In determining the portion of the marital property that each spouse will receive, the court is required by law to take into account a number of factors including:

  • Each party’s contribution to the marital estate and its value, including the contributions of a homemaker or stay-at-home parent;
  • Any claims of dissipation of the marital property by either spouse;
  • The value of the property being awarded to each spouse;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • Each spouse’s expected financial circumstances following the division of property;
  • Parenting arrangements for the couple’s children;
  • Whether maintenance has been or will be ordered;
  • Each spouse’s age health, occupation, and expected ability to earn income in the future;
  • Tax liabilities that arise from the division of property; and
  • Any valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement between the spouses.

These considerations allow the court to develop a rather comprehensive understanding of the couple’s circumstances. Based on the facts of the case, the court will divide the marital estate fairly and reasonably.

Let Us Help

If you are considering a divorce and would like to know more about the property division process in Illinois, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows divorce lawyer. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule your free consultation at Cosley Law Office today.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+V&ActID=2086&ChapterID=0&SeqStart=6100000&SeqEnd=8350000

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