If 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.