Factors Determining Property Division in Illinois

property division, DuPage County property division attorneysIf you are planning to get divorced, you are probably wondering how you and your spouse’s property will be divided. Since Illinois is an “equitable division” state, marital property is divided equitably, but not necessarily evenly. While some states split marital property 50/50, Illinois courts have the freedom to award more marital property to one spouse than the other if such an arrangement is found to be fair. When the court is dividing marital property and debt, there are specific guidelines they must follow.

How Property Decisions Are Made

Illinois courts look at twelve main factors when making property division decisions in a divorce. The first factor is each party’s contribution. More specifically, the court must consider how each spouse contributed “to the acquisition, preservation, or increase or decrease in value, of the marital or non-marital property.” Each spouse’s income is considered as well the non-monetary contributions the spouses made to the marriage including homemaking and child-rearing. Courts will also consider any dissipation, or wasting or hiding of assets, when making decisions about property division. For example, a spouse who used martial funds to finance an affair during the marriage may receive less of the marital property. The value of the property which is assigned to each spouse is also taken into consideration.

The length of the marriage is a factor courts take into account for two main purposes. Firstly, it operates as a multiplier of the homemaker contribution and rewards spouses who sacrificed work outside the home to raise children or manage the household. For example, a wife who stayed home to raise children during the course of a 20-year marriage will not be very employable when she re-enters the workforce. Courts may award her more marital property in order to help her transition to single life. The second reason the duration of the marriage is a factor in property division is to prevent “gold-diggers” from marrying wealthy individuals for the sole purpose of acquiring some of their wealth in a divorce. The courts also look at prior marriages that a spouse has had and any support or maintenance which they receive or have been ordered to pay.

Courts also consider any children of the marriage when deciding which spouse gets what in a divorce. When possible, courts try to keep children in the marital residence so that they do not have to move away from their school and friends. So, the custodial parent, meaning the one with more parenting time, will often be awarded the family home. This is not always the case, however. If the couple had created a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, this will also be very influential in the court’s final decisions.

Consult a Family Law Attorney for Help

If you are planning to divorce and have further questions about property division, spousal maintenance, child support, or other family law matters, the experienced Wheaton divorce attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group are ready to help. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation by calling 630-871-1002 today.




How Will Adultery Affect My Divorce?

adultery, Wheaton divorce attorneysIt is no secret that many marriages end as a result of infidelity. About 41 percent of married people admit to having either a physical or emotional affair. Even more surprising, 57 percent of men and 54 percent of women admit to cheating at some point in their life. When an affair is one of the factors which ends a marriage, it may affect your divorce, but not in the way you might think.

Illinois is a No-Fault Divorce State

Illinois has been “pure no-fault state” since the start of 2016. This means that the state does not require divorcing couples to state their specific reasons or “grounds” for ending the marriage through divorce. Before the 2016 change, grounds like adultery or repeated mental or physical cruelty could be used as the cause of the divorce. Today, those seeking a divorce in Illinois only have one ground for filing for divorce: “irreconcilable differences.” According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a judgment of divorce will be issued only if “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.” For most couples, infidelity will not affect their divorce in any meaningful way.

Special Circumstances in Which Infidelity May Affect Your Divorce

Many people presume that if their spouse cheats, the unfaithful spouse will somehow be punished for his or her infidelity during the divorce process. They might believe that the faithful spouse will automatically receive of primary custodial responsibilities for the children or that the cheating spouse will be forced to pay more in spousal maintenance. However, this is no longer the case. Adultery usually has little to no impact on support or custody decisions.

There are only a few rare circumstances in which a spouse’s new romantic interest could affect their ability to get custody of their child. Judges use the same main criteria to make decisions regarding custody and visitation (now called parenting time) across the board: They determine what will protect the child’s best interest. So, if a spouse’s new girlfriend or boyfriend is a danger to the child, it may affect the court’s decision regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities. If a spouse’s affair or new romantic interest does not damage the parent-child relationship or put the child in harm’s way, it will probably not be considered during the divorce.

Just the act of having an affair will probably not come up during divorce proceedings. However, if the cheating partner spent marital assets on his or her new romantic interest during the marriage, he or she may be required to replace that money before marital property is divided. This is called “dissipation.” A spouse accused of dissipation of marital assets must either prove that the allegations are false or pay back the marital estate the money spent for non-marital purposes like the affair.

If you have further questions about how your or your spouse’s affair will affect your divorce, contact the experienced Wheaton family lawyers at Andrew Cores Family Law Group by calling 630-871-1002 today.




Will I Have to Pay Spousal Maintenance?

maintenance, Wheaton divorce lawyersSometimes referred to as alimony, spousal maintenance or spousal support refers to payments which one spouse pays to the other to help them transition to life as a single person. Maintenance payments are generally made by the spouse with the higher income and paid to the spouse with the lower income.

The purpose of spousal support is to restrict any one-sided negative financial effects of a divorce by providing an ongoing source of revenue to a spouse who earns less than his or her partner. The rationale behind spousal support is that one spouse—often the wife, but stay-at-home husbands are more common than ever—may have chosen to sacrifice a career to care for the family. Someone who has been out of the workforce and suddenly gets divorced will need time to acquire new skills and employment support himself or herself. Maintenance may also be appropriate to help an economically-disadvantaged spouse maintain a similar standard of living as compared to the one established in the marriage.

Who Pays Spousal Support?

The short answer to, “Will I have to pay spousal support?” is “It depends.” The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act contains the spousal support statutes on which such decisions are based. However, courts have leeway when deciding who gets spousal support and how much it will be. This is much different than child support payments, which are calculated by a more ridged set of parameters in Illinois. When deciding whether a spouse will receive support, the courts consider a number of factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • The standard of living established in the marriage;
  • The physical condition of each spouse including their ages, health, and disabilities;
  • The emotional and mental state of each spouse;
  • The length of time that the recipient of support would reasonably need to become financially self-sufficient;
  • Contributions made by either spouse to the career and earning capacity of the other; and
  • The ability of the paying spouse to make maintenance payments.

Spousal maintenance is generally meant to be rehabilitative in nature. Many support orders are temporary, lasting until the recipient spouse can get on his or her feet financially. Sometimes, the divorce decree does not specify a spousal support termination date. If this is the case, payments must continue until the court orders them to cease. A payer spouse is not required to pay spousal support to a spouse who remarries.

We Can Help

If you getting divorced and are worried about how spousal maintenance payments will affect your life, the dedicated Wheaton family law attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group are here to help. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call 630-871-1002 today.