Dividing up the marital assets is often one of the most complicated parts of ad divorce. As you begin the process, you may be concerned about having to give your spouse an asset of high monetary or sentimental value. A family law attorney representing you can help you prioritize what is important to you so that you do not feel like you are losing everything in the divorce.
Illinois is an ‘equitable division’ state
It may be beneficial for you to understand the property distribution laws used to divide up property between divorcing spouses in Illinois. Illinois is an ‘equitable division’ state, which means that not all your marital property will be divided up 50-50. The court will determine the value of each marital asset and determine how to divide up the property in a fair and equitable manner.
What is a marital asset?
Only marital assets may be divided between the spouses in a divorce. Generally, any asset acquired by a couple during a marriage or with the use of marital funds (partially or fully) is considered a marital asset. Family homes, family vehicles, furniture, income, and pensions, are often acquired during the marriage and are most likely marital assets. Separate property, or property belonging to only one spouse, will not be up for division in a divorce. Inheritances, gifts, settlement proceeds from a personal injury lawsuit, and items purchased before the marriage by one spouse are some examples of separate property.
Factors used to determine ‘fair and equitable’
The term ‘Fair and equitable’ is not strictly defined and therefore allows judges to use their own discretion when determining how to divide up the property. However, there are some factors to consider including:
- Age, health, current income, and earning capacity of each spouse.
- Length of the marriage
- Existence of a prenuptial/postnuptial agreement
- Current value and appreciation of assets
- Contributions to marriage (non-monetary and monetary)
Protecting your assets and finances is critical if you are going through a divorce. A family law attorney can provide you with the support you need during this challenging time.