Illinois is considered an equitable distribution state when it comes to dividing marital property. This means that the court is most concerned with making sure the division of property between ex-spouses is considered fair and just, not necessarily equal.
While splitting all of the marital property equally—as is done in community property states—may seem to be fair on its face, this method can actually disadvantage one party, depending on the details of the family's particular situation. Rather, the Illinois law requires the court to consider the whole picture when determining what is fair and decide property division on a case-by-case basis.
If you are going through a divorce in Illinois or are considering filing for divorce, it is important that you understand just how marital assets may be allocated. Your experienced DuPage County family law attorney with our firm can take a look at the marital assets and liabilities that you and your spouse maintain and make arguments and recommendations to the court regarding how the relevant factors ought to be interpreted given your specific circumstances.
What Property is Subject to Equitable Division?
Only the property that is considered part of the marital estate can be subject to equitable division. Any assets or property that either party brought into the marriage, as well as certain inheritances and gifts, are typically considered separate individual property, while most property acquired during the marriage, including pensions and investments established during the marriage, are generally considered part of the marital estate.
Equitable Division Factors
Illinois law sets out a dozen specific factors that the court can take into account when deciding which spouse gets what property. These factors include:
- The manner and amount each spouse contributed to the marital estate, both in terms of economic contribution, such as salary and wages and noneconomic contribution, such as working as a homemaker and caring the for the needs and education of the children;
- Any dissipation of the property by each party;
- The value of the property in question;
- The marriage's duration;
- Each party's economic circumstances and the relevant details, such as who is maintaining primary custody of the children and whether they will continue to reside in the family home;
- Whether either party has a prior marriage that impacts the property division in the current marriage;
- Whether the parties can come to a negotiated prenuptial agreement;
- The needs of each party relevant to their age, health, employment status, income, skills, employment prospects, liabilities, and the marital estate itself;
- Parenting time and parenting plan agreements;
- Whether spousal support will be provided;
- To what degree each spouse will have the opportunity and capacity to earn additional assets, capital or income; and
- The tax consequences associated with the property division.
Consult an Experienced DuPage County Family Law Attorney
Regardless of your situation, your DuPage County divorce and family law attorney can highlight for the court the details of your circumstances in relation to the equitable distribution factors set out by the Illinois law. We will do everything within our power to make sure you receive the share of your marital assets that is fair and just.