How is Property Divided According to Illinois Divorce Law?
If you plan to divorce your spouse, you have probably wondered how you will divide your accumulated assets. In Illinois, divorcing individuals are encouraged to work out how their property should be divided by agreement. However, this is not always possible. Couples getting divorced may be unable to come to a decision about who should own the house, cars, art, or other valuable items. If a couple cannot reach a decision about property on their own, a qualified mediator can help. As a last resort, courts have the authority to make property division decisions for a divorcing couple.
How Do Illinois Courts Divide Assets?
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement about assets, the court will. Some states simply split martial property exactly in half and assign 50 percent of the wealth to one party and 50 percent to the other party. Illinois courts, on the other hand, make property division decisions using a method called “equitable distribution.” This method divides property fairly but not necessarily equally. Only marital property is divided. Marital property generally includes any assets accumulated during the marriage as well as comingled funds.
Factors Illinois Courts Consider When Making Property Decisions
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act includes a list of factors that the court will take into consideration when dividing marital property. Courts generally consider the following items when making property division decisions:
- Any valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement;
- Each spouse’s age, physical and mental health, employability, and financial circumstances;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The contributions of each spouse to the marital estate (including contributions made as a homemaker or stay-at-home parent);
- Whether spousal maintenance will be awarded or not;
- Any previous support or maintenance obligations for either spouse;
- Any claims of dissipation, or misused assets;
- Tax implications; and
- Any provisions made for the couple’s children.
Recovering Wasted Assets
Illinois law has an avenue to recovering assets wasted by a spouse just prior to divorce. If your spouse has spent a significant amount of marital funds on things not related to the marriage, this may be considered dissipation. Illinois courts will sometimes award a greater share of the marital estate to the spouse who did not waste assets to compensate for the dissipated assets.
Contact an Experienced Wheaton Divorce Lawyer for Help
If you need trustworthy legal guidance regarding divorce, child custody and visitation, spousal maintenance, or more, contact the knowledgeableDuPage County family law attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick, & Mirabella, LLC. Call us today at 630-665-7300.