Going through a divorce doesn’t just mean parting ways and forming new lives independently of one another; it also means divvying up property. While couples are encouraged to divide property on their own in a manner that they see fit and both agree to outside of court, in some cases, resolution cannot be reached, and a couple must turn to the court system for guidance. When this is the case, the court will follow Illinois’ laws regarding property division in making its decision.
What Do Illinois Laws Say About Property Division in a Divorce?
Illinois courts recognize the equitable division of marital property. Marital property, as found in 750 ILCS 5/503 means all property, including both debts and assets, that were acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage, with the exception of property that was acquired by gift or legacy, property acquired in exchange for another property that was acquired prior to marriage, and property acquired after a judgement of legal separation is issued (you can see the full list by referring to the cited code).
Separate property is not subject to equitable division.
What Does Equitable Division Mean?
Equitable division means that the division of property must be fair, but does not necessarily have to be equal. In order to determine what is equitable, the court will consider a number of factors, including:
- How long the marriage has lasted;
- The value of marital property and separate property;
- The economic circumstances of each spouse;
- The age and health of each party;
- Whether or not each spouse has reasonable opportunities to acquire income and assets in the future;
- The existence of a pre- or postnuptial agreement; and
- Other factors that the court finds relevant.
How to Reach a Fair Property Division Settlement with Your Spouse
As mentioned above, a property division case only needs to go to court if spouses are unable to reach a property division agreement on their own outside of court through mediation or negotiation. While it may be difficult to come to an agreement, especially if there are bad feelings between you and your spouse as a result of the divorce and surrounding circumstances, doing so is strongly encouraged. Reaching an out of court settlement saves you time and money, and puts more power in your hands. If you go to court, you will be able to present your side to the judge and make an argument for why you should get what, but the ultimate decision will be in the judge’s hands, not yours.
Contact Our Experienced Illinois Divorce Attorneys Today
If you are going through a divorce in Illinois, working with an experienced attorney is strongly advised. An attorney can help you to understand the laws regarding property division, and assist you in negotiating with your spouse. Should your case go to court, your attorney will be there to represent you every step of the way and fight for your interests.
To schedule a consultation with the Illinois property division attorneys at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., please contact us online or by phone. We serve the areas of Naperville, Downers Grove, Wheaton, Lombard, Lisle, and Aurora.