Property Division in Illinois Divorce

marital property negotiations, Illinois divorce attorney, marital estate division,Your first question when contemplating divorce may be how your property and assets will be split between you and your spouse. Financial concerns are often key factors during the divorce process. Many people hesitate before initiating a divorce due to such concerns. If you are thinking about divorce, but are worried about the financial consequences, it is in your best interests to speak with an attorney in the area, who can educate you on the process of property division and help answer any other questions you may have.

The Basics of Divorce Property Division

In Illinois, “marital property” usually includes all property and assets acquired during the marriage. During a divorce, marital property is divided between the spouses, though the division is not necessarily equal. In fact, Illinois courts use a system termed “equitable distribution” to divide the marital property. Equitable distribution requires that each spouse receive a fair share of the marital property based on his or her monetary and non-monetary contributions to the marriage. Some common types of marital property may include:

  • Real estate;

  • Automobiles;

  • Stocks;

  • Savings accounts;

  • Personal property (electronics, furniture, etc.);

  • Pets;

  • Pensions; and

  • Retirement accounts.

Generally, it does not matter how these assets are titled. If something is marital property, it is subject to be divided between the spouses during divorce.

How Is Personal Property Divided?

Nearly everything about divorce is emotionally charged, especially if it involves finances. Another particularly emotional area is splitting up personal property. Unlike real property (real estate) and financial assets, personal property is the “stuff” acquired during your marriage. It can be difficult to consider dividing your decorative pieces, furnishings, family heirlooms, and other household items. However, it is an important part of the divorce process.

Often, spouses become attached to a certain item, such as a piece of artwork or furniture. This is why dividing personal property can be especially hard. In some cases, a prenuptial or other marital agreement may already dictate how such items are to be split. Otherwise, spouses can consent to out-of-court agreements regarding their personal property. It can be beneficial to try and make such an agreement, instead of allowing a judge to decide how your personal items are separated.

When facing personal property division, it may be helpful for you to make a list about items you want to keep. For example, if a family heirloom is especially precious to you, you will want to add that piece to your list. Often, these lists can aid the mediation process, thus resolving a contentious issue more efficiently.

A divorce can be complicated, both emotionally and financially. Every divorce case presents unique legal questions, and every spouse has specific goals for the process. At Martoccio & Martoccio, we can help you meet your divorce goals. Contact our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys today for a free initial consultation.

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