If you are thinking about ending your marriage through divorce, you probably have many questions and concerns. One of these concerns might be about how your marital property will be divided when you split. While we often only think of a marriage as a romantic partnership, it is also a merging of two people’s finances. When a couple divorces, the courts are tasked with dividing the couple’s jointly-held property, assets, and debts fairly. Read on to learn how property is divided during Illinois divorces.
When Couples Cannot Decide How to Split Their Accumulated Assets
Although the simplest and easiest way to manage property separation during a divorce is for the couple themselves to decide how the property will be split up, this is not always possible. Many divorcing couples are not able to agree on property division issues. Other times, one spouse refuses to sign divorce papers or dodges making any decisions about the split. For couples such as these, the matter often ends up in court.
Illinois is an Equitable Distribution State
Illinois courts follow equitable distribution laws, which means that property is divided fairly but not necessarily evenly. A judge decides what is equitable, or just, based on many different factors. If you live in an equitable distribution state, it is possible you can end up with significantly less or more property than your spouse after a divorce.
Marital Property Vs. Separate or Non-Marital Property
Marital property includes the property and debts a couple accumulated during the marriage. Separate property generally includes items or assets that the spouses acquired before they got married. Things like gifts, inheritance, court awards, and pension earnings from before the marriage began are usually separate, or non-marital, property. Items purchased with separate property are also considered separate during a divorce. For example, if you bought a car with money you received as an inheritance, that car remains your property. It is important to note that some separate property assets can become marital property. Items purchased with commingled funds are often considered marital property.
Life Circumstances and Child Rearing Affects Property Distribution
Many divorcing spouses are concerned about which one of them will get to stay in the family home. If a couple cannot agree on this decision themselves, the court will consider many elements before making a judgment. Generally, if two parents get divorced, the one who has the majority of parental responsibility and parenting time continues living in the marital home. However, if one spouse had purchased the house with separate funds and the couple does not have children, then that person is legally entitled to keeping the home.
A Wheaton Law Firm You Can Trust
If you have further questions about the divorce process in Illinois, contact one of the experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group to discuss your available options. For a free, confidential consultation, call 630-871-1002 today.