How Are Assets Divided in an Illinois Divorce?

Arlington Heights IL divorce attorneyThe common conception of what happens to a couple’s assets in a divorce is that they are split equally and everybody brushes off their hands and moves on. This could not be further from the truth–especially in Illinois.

Equitable Distribution

Illinois is known as an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that the division of marital assets is done in a way that is considered fair, rather than precisely equal. This gives judges considerable leeway when making decisions that are considered equitable, and each divorce case is going to be different.

Keep in mind that only marital assets are divided in a divorce; assets that each spouse owns individually, such as inheritances or assets protected by a prenuptial agreement, will remain in possession of the spouse who owns them. For those assets that must be divided, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act lists twelve factors that will be taken into consideration:

  • Both parties’ contributions to the marital assets or marital estate (including the contributions of a homemaker spouse who may not have earned income)

  • Dissipation of marital property, if applicable

  • How long the marriage lasted

  • The value of property owned by each spouse

  • The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time of the divorce

  • Any financial obligations from a spouse’s previous marriages, such as child support or alimony

  • Agreements between spouses, such as a prenup

  • The future employment and earning potential for each spouse

  • Age, disability, or other factors affecting the future employment of each spouse

  • Future child support payments

  • Future alimony (or spousal support) payments

  • Any tax implications of the distribution of marital property to each spouse

These factors certainly do not prevent disagreement between spouses regarding how marital assets should be divided. Spouses who feel the distribution of property is unjust can appeal to an Illinois appellate court, but unless there is evidence that the original divorce court did not conscientiously evaluate the circumstances of both parties, the original division of property is likely to stand.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Divorce Attorney

Negotiating an equitable division of assets can be complicated and stressful. Fortunately, you do not have to figure it out yourself. Contact a Cook County divorce attorney today and save yourself unnecessary stress. At Cosley Law Office, Attorney Donald J. Cosley is committed to providing quality client service and putting his experience to work for you. Call us at 847-253-3100 for a free, confidential consultation.


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