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Geneva property division lawyersIf 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.

Geneva divorce attorneysThere 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:

Geneva divorce attorneyWhen we were children, we were taught that the fairest way to divide things between two people is to split them equally. If each person gets an equal share of the treats or important items, in theory, no one can complain about inequality. There are, however, situations in life where equal distribution is not actually the fairest choice. Illinois and many other states prefer the theory of equitable distribution when it comes to marital assets during a divorce. While this approach can cause some obstacles in divorce asset division, it is generally worth the trouble.

Trends in State Law

There are different methods that divorce courts may use to divide the assets acquired during a marriage. As a general rule, most state courts favor property settlements that allow both spouses to live as close to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage as possible, and depending on the amount of assets between the parties, this may not be possible in many situations.

Geneva family law attorneyFor many couples, dividing marital property is the most difficult element of the entire divorce process. To a certain extent, it is understandable that a pair who has spent many years together would find it challenging to how to divide assets that belonged to both spouses for so long. This may be especially true for spouses who married young with almost nothing, then spend the next several decades amassing a significant amount of wealth and net-worth. When such a marriage comes to an end, determining who will get what can be long and cumbersome process.

Titled Assets

The first step in dividing marital property is deciding what actually is marital property. According to Illinois law, almost anything acquired by either spouse during the marriage is marital property and subject to division in divorce. Exceptions include gifts and inheritances to one spouse alone. This means that even assets for which a title is issued, such as a vacation home, a vehicle, or boat, are considered marital property if they were purchased after the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title.

Kane County family law attorneyThe prospect of undoing a marriage is not only emotionally overwhelming, but can involve complicated logistical scenarios as well. A common concern among those seeking a divorce from their spouse is how property will be divided.

Marital and Non-Marital Assets

For the purposes of divorce, there are two general types of property. Assets acquired during the marriage are generally considered marital assets while assets purchased or acquired before the marriage are non-marital assets. For example, marital property would include a car the couple purchased together, the marital home, and joint banking accounts, along with regular income each spouse earned during the marriage. Only these shared marital assets will be divided during a divorce. Non-marital assets will remain the property of the original owner.

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