Factors That Affect Property Division in a Divorce
There are a great many things to consider when a couple decides to get divorced. In addition to dealing with the emotional turmoil of ending their marriage, they also have to face decisions regarding logistics like property division. If you have been considering divorce, you may have wondered to yourself “Who will get to continue living in the house?” or “Who will get the antique furniture?”
Determining Who Will Get What
In many marriages, spouses have brought assets into the marriage that were valuable either financially or sentimentally. They worry that the court will assign such assets to their spouse. In other cases, a spouse may not have worked because they stayed home to raise children. He or she may wonder if this will affect the way property is divided. The law regarding property division in Illinois can be complicated, but there are guidelines that courts use when making decisions about property division. The following are some of the foremost factors courts use to decide how property and assets are divided in a divorce:
- How long the marriage lasted: The duration of the marriage is taken into consideration during property division for two main reasons. First, the courts want to dissuade “gold diggers” from marrying a wealthy person and then quickly divorcing them in order to receive some of their wealth in the divorce. Secondly, courts want to give the appropriate amount of credit to those spouses who have contributed to the family’s wealth.
- How each spouse contributed to the marital estate and the marriage: The court will study how each spouse contributed to “the acquisition, preservation, or increase or decrease in value, of the marital or non-marital property." Often, the higher-earning spouse will end up with more property and assets than the lesser earning spouse does, but this is not always the case. The word “contribution” does not only refer to the income earned by the spouse. Nonfinancial contributions that a person made as a parent or homemaker is also taken into consideration.
- Each spouse’s financial situation: The courts will consider each spouse's job and income, their future employability, and whether a spouse is or will be receiving spousal support (alimony). Sometimes the court will find that one spouse had a negative effect on the overall wealth of the family. For example, a spouse who often indulged in superfluous shopping trips or gambled money away may be awarded less property than the spouse who spent more prudently.
- Any existing prenuptial agreement: Having a prenuptial agreement in place during a divorce will often simplify the whole process. The prenuptial agreement will dictate how property is divided but it cannot address issues of child custody, child support, or spousal support.
Contact a Knowledgeable Attorney
If you will soon be divorcing, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer. Our competent attorneys have the skills to fight for the best possible outcome for your divorce. Call 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today.