Most couples who are looking to part ways legally are aware of the fact that doing so means that their assets will be up for division. In fact, until a couple reaches a property division settlement, a court will not grant a divorce.
But what many couples may not know is exactly what is included in a property division decision. If you have questions about what types of property and assets will be considered for division, or what the laws are regarding division, our Naperville divorce lawyers at the offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. can help.
What Does Illinois Law Say About Property Division in a Divorce?
Illinois law is very specific about property division in a divorce case. To be sure, the statute reads that all marital property–but not separate property–will be subject for division, and that property will be divided in a manner that is equitable and in “just proportions” without regard to marital misconduct.
What Property is Marital and Therefore Subject to Division?
Property that is considered marital in Illinois, and therefore is subject to equitable division as such, is all property, including debts and “other obligations” acquired during the course of the marriage. There are a few exceptions to this rule – property that is considered separate and therefore will not be subject to division includes:
- Property acquired by gift or legacy;
- Property acquired in exchange for another piece of property that was acquired before the marriage; and
- Property acquired by a spouse after entering a legal separation.
It is important to refer to Illinois Code Chapter 750, Section 503 for a full description of excluded property types.
What Types of Property Will the Court Consider for Division?
If property is not separate property, it will be considered for division. Examples of property that will be subject to division include:
- Pension benefits;
- Physical property;
- Real estate;
- Stock options;
- Life insurance benefits; and
- Debts and liabilities.
Factors the Court Considers When Deciding What Is Equitable
Determining what is “equitable” isn’t always easy, and as such, the court will consider a number of different factors in order to make this determination. Examples of factors that are considered by a court include:
- Each party’s contribution to the acquisition of assets;
- The value of each party’s property;
- The value of separate property owned by each spouse;
- How long the marriage has lasted;
- The economic circumstances of each spouse;
- The tax consequences of a property distribution settlement;
- Whether or not either party is a custodial parent;
- Whether or not spousal maintenance is part of the divorce settlement; and
- The opportunities of each spouse to increase their assets and income in the future.
It’s important to know that you and your spouse have the opportunity to reach a property division agreement on your own. It is only in the event that you cannot reach an agreement that the court will intervene.
Our Illinois Property Division Lawyers Can Help
If you have questions about property division or need a legal advocate who can represent you throughout the process, contact Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. today. We serve clients throughout the state, and are ready to get to work on your case today.