When it comes to property division at the time of divorce, Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state. In other words, courts take into consideration the requirements of both separating spouses and divide marital property in a manner that that is fair to both of them. It is important to note that the court’s decision is unique to every case and there is no general formal that can be applied to divide the marital property.
What are the factors that the court takes into consideration?
When family courts in Illinois have to make a decision regarding equitable distribution of marital property, the first thing that they take into consideration is the duration of the marriage. The next factor is related to which parent will have primary custody of the children and whether that parent will require child support.
Next, the court looks at the earning potential and the financial requirements and liabilities – both present and future – for both spouses. The court also looks into the contribution of each spouse in the overall marital property that is to be divided. In fact, non-monetary contributions too are taken into consideration.
Additionally, the court also looks at the separating spouses’ age, health and whether there are any special needs. Also taken into consideration are child support or spousal support obligations in the event there were previous marriages. And finally, the court looks at whether a separating spouse has any adverse actions such as gambling debts, extramarital affairs or incidents of domestic violence.
Ensuring equitable distribution of property at the time of divorce
While courts follow the above guidelines quite thoroughly, it may sometimes require advocacy on part of a separating couple to make sure that all relevant factors are taken into consideration before the court makes its decision regarding the division of property. Since navigating complicated legal matters independently may be a challenge for couples who are already tense about the divorce, it may be a wise decision to seek professional help.