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The divorce process involves several issues and critical decisions that can impact your life and finances long-term. One of the major decisions you must deal with includes the property and debts you own. Determining how such things can be divided fairly between you and your ex-spouse during divorce can be overwhelming. If you and your spouse cannot negotiate an agreement, the court divides property per Illinois equitable distribution laws.
In Illinois, marital and non-marital property is divided equitably rather than equally, but not separate/non-marital property. So when preparing for a divorce, one of the first things you must do is determine which assets should be divided.
According to state law, marital property is property acquired by either spouse after their marriage and before a divorce or declaration of the marriage’s invalidity. This also includes non-marital property that the spouses co-own.
So most assets the spouses acquire during their marriage are considered 'marital property' while assets acquired before it are considered separate or 'non-marital property.' While preparing for your divorce, make separate asset lists of both, so you know where you stand.
Please note that ‘equitable’ doesn’t mean ‘equal’ or 50/50. While some spouses may agree to split marital property straight down the middle, this may not be viable in some cases. Illinois courts consider the following factors when determining equitable property division:
Child custody terms that are determined during the divorce
Asset dissipation between either spouse
The length of the marriage
The contributions of each spouse in the marital estate
Economic circumstances of each spouse
The terms included in the pre or post-nuptial agreement
The health, age, occupation, income source, liabilities, needs, and employability of either spouse
If either spouse will get spousal maintenance
The tax consequences of the division
Some of the types of marital property that may have to be divided during asset division include the following:
Whether a spouse can make mortgage payments post-divorce should be considered when real estate is being evaluated for division. This also includes related costs and whether the children should remain in the same home and attend the same schools. The property can be sold off if either spouse cannot purchase their own home – in this case, the proceeds are divided between spouses.
Besides finances in savings accounts, couples going through a divorce may also have to consider bonds and stocks, among other investments they made when married.
This can include jewelry, furniture, collectibles, clothing, vehicles, appliances, kitchen tools, etc. The division of this property is usually based on each spouse's needs or sentimental attachments to certain items.
Irrespective of your circumstances, divorce is challenging for each party involved. It can trigger painful memories and powerful emotions, compromising sensitive legal issues. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, we have compassionate and knowledgeable DuPage County marital property attorneys who can guide you whether you have a contested or uncontested divorce. Contact us for a consultation by dialing 630-920-8855.