Many people who have friends in other states who have gone through a divorce can are surprised to learn that property division during divorce varies from state to state. Community property laws dictate a 50-50 split of all marital property. Illinois is among the majority of states using equitable division laws as opposed to community property laws. Equitable distribution involves a fair but not necessarily equal distribution of marital assets.
Illinois law can be rather complex when it comes to determining the distribution of marital property, and a number of factors can influence court decisions in these cases. The value of property, the spouses’ earning capacity, and each party’s contribution to the marital estate can all be factors that dictate how property will be distributed.
How Equitable Distribution Applies to Your Divorce
Courts only utilize equitable distribution when divorcing spouses cannot negotiate an agreement regarding their marital property settlement. Equitable distribution will only apply to marital property, or the property that was acquired during the marriage. It does not include property obtained during the marriage by gift or inheritance, which is considered separate property.
When determining how to divide marital property in a contested divorce, the courts will consider:
Each party’s contributions to the acquisition or increase in value of property
Non-financial contributions to the marriage such as contributions made as a stay-at-home mother or father
The length of the marriage
Any existing child support or spousal support obligations or entitlements
Each party’s age and health
Each party’s income and earning capacity
Child custody provisions
The parties’ expected future income
The tax consequences of property division
Misconduct by a spouse such as drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence, or adultery will not impact equitable distribution. However, dissipation of assets can affect the court’s determination regarding asset division. Dissipation occurs when a spouse wastes, squanders, or intentionally destroys property. For example, if a spouse spent thousands of dollars on hotel rooms with an affair partner, the court may distribute marital property in a way that compensates the wronged spouse for this dissipation.
Contact a Will County, IL Equitable Distribution Attorney
Are you preparing to try and divide your marital property in Illinois? Make sure that you are working with experienced Naperville equitable distribution lawyers before you sit down to negotiate.
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