After receiving the order from the court that all property was to be divided in half as part of the divorce, a German man literally cut all of his property in half – from the car, to his phone, to a teddy bear.
Division of Property in Illinois
The misconception in most cases is that divorces will result in the marital property being divided in half, as in the case of the German story. This, however, is not the case in Illinois. Illinois is known as an equitable distribution state. This means in a divorce case, if the parties cannot come to an agreement on the allocation of the marital property, the court will look to divide up the assets based on what is fair under the circumstances of that particular divorce. The following are some but not all of the factors a court may look into:
- Length of the marriage;
- Age, health, and station of each spouse;
- Value of property assigned to each;
- Individual spouse’s debts, assets, and property value;
- Obligations prior to marriage;
- Opportunity to acquire assets, money, and additional income in the future;
- Contributions during the marriage;
- Overall economic circumstances of each spouse; and
- Child custody arrangements.
One of the critical determinations in any divorce asks what is considered marital property and what is nonmarital property, which can be determined using the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Marital property will ultimately be divided up by the court or during the divorce. Nonmarital property is considered to belong to the individual. The following are examples of what may be considered nonmarital property:
- Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage or by a gift;
- Property acquired after legal separation; and
- Property acquired before the marriage.
Because courts prefer that couples reach amicable divisions of property, there is the opportunity for a couple to specify what they consider marital property and assign value accordingly. The same goes for debt. In cases where the court has to step in, it is critical you have an experienced divorce attorney who can help you determine in advance what property you have a claim to in the divorce proceedings.
Division of property is one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce. You will need an experienced divorce lawyer who can staunchly represent your interests. Please contact our dedicated DuPage County divorce lawyers today to discuss your case.