Division of property following a divorce in Illinois involves a system of “equitable distribution,” where courts take into account a number of factors in order to determine a fair distribution of property, rather than following a strict guideline.
Property that may be divided following a divorce include cars, real estate, pension and retirement plans, investment assets, marital debts, and owned businesses.
What is Equitable Distribution?
Equitable distribution does not mean “equal distribution.” A spouse that provided less income during the marriage may receive a higher percentage of the division of property if the person lived at a certain quality of life that could not be replicated with the person’s own income, or if the person had to forego education and a higher level of income in order to contribute to the marriage. The court will also take into account whether the assets are marital or non-marital in nature. If one party has considerable non-marital assets, the court may award the other party a larger percentage of the marital estate.
In Illinois, a marriage is seen as a sort of joint business venture, where a person’s contribution to homemaking or child rearing may result in a larger award, which is in turn dependent on the length of the marriage. On the other hand, in a very short marriage, spouses often simply end up with the same property they brought into the marriage. Other factors to consider when dividing property include child custody, nuptial agreements, obligations from previous marriages, taxes, and future income.
Getting a divorce is a process, and you should have a firm plan in place before you get started. I can help you with that plan. If you are ready to get started exploring your options, you can call me now at 708-466-6912 or contact me online. I often meet clients in the evening and on weekends, and all clients get my personal mobile phone number.