Frequently Asked Questions About Property Division
If you are considering divorce, you may be worried about how you and your spouse’s combined property will be divided. You may have seen television or movies where a spiteful spouse takes their former partner for everything, leaving the other spouse destitute. Luckily, the reality of property division during divorce is much more reasonable. Illinois courts distribute property and assets according to “equitable distribution” laws, which means that although property may not be divided 50/50, it will be divided justly.
What Is Considered Marital Property?
Not every asset that a spouse owns is eligible to be divided during a divorce according to Illinois laws. Only marital property, which is most property acquired during the marriage, will be equitably allocated between the spouses. This is not as simple as it may seem, however. For example, if a person is awarded a cash inheritance from a deceased relative, this money is considered separate property. It cannot be divided up during divorce. However, if the individual adds that money to a joint banking account or uses it to pay family bills, it becomes marital property and therefore is subject to division.
What Is Considered Separate (Non-Marital) Property?
In an Illinois divorce, separate property is not subject to equitable division and will be assigned to the spouse to whom it belongs. Separate property typically includes:
- Property gained after a legal separation;
- Property acquired before the marriage;
- Property obtained as a gift or inheritance from a third party; and
- Property disqualified for division through a former agreement by both parties.
How Do Courts Decide How to Divide Marital Property?
Illinois courts seek to divide marital assets in a way which is fair to both spouses. Some states, such as California, simplify the property division process by simply dividing marital assets straight down the middle. Illinois, on the other hand, aims to divide property based on several factors including:
- Each spouse’s age and physical health;
- The duration of the marriage;
- Each spouse’s income, assets, and debts;
- The part each spouse played in acquiring or changing the value of the shared property;
- Any former prenuptial agreement;
- Custody arrangements;
- Tax consequences of property division; and
- The future employability of each spouse.
Ownership of separate property can affect the way marital property is divided. For instance, if one party has a substantial amount of separate property, he or she may receive less marital property during a divorce.
Skilled Representation During Divorce
If you are getting divorced and have further questions about how your property and debts will be divided between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, the experienced Geneva divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates are ready to help. Call us at 630-232-9700 to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss all of your property division questions and concerns today.