Dividing Marital Property: Will I Get Half of Everything?

property, DuPage County divorce attorneyWhen a couple gets divorced, one of the most contentious aspects of the process involves the identification and division of marital property. For many couples, the marital estate is a physical representation of their life together, making it very difficult for the parties to reach a reasonable resolution.

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding your property, the issue will be left to the court to decide. Such a situation leads many to assume that the court will simply divide the marital estate into equal halves, and allocate 50 percent of the marital property to one spouse and 50 percent to the other. According to Illinois law, however, this is not exactly the case.

Equitable Distribution

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that during a divorce, marital property is to be divided between the spouses in a manner that is equitable and just. The law does not promise or even imply that each spouse should receive an equal share. Instead, the court is required to consider the totality of the situation in determining how to allocate the marital estate.

When dividing marital property, the court will take into account:

  • The contributions of each spouse to the contents and value of the marital estate including those of a stay-at-home spouse or parent;
  • Any property that has been wasted or dissipated by either spouse;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • Each spouse’s financial circumstances and how they will be affected by the division of property;
  • Obligations or rights stemming from either spouse’s prior marriage, if applicable;
  • Arrangements being made for the couple’s children;
  • Whether maintenance is being awarded or considered;
  • Each spouse’s age, health, employability, and income potential;
  • The tax consequences of the property division process; and
  • Any valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement between the spouses.

Each Case Is Unique

There are several ways in which the court could approach the property division process. Some judges begin with a hypothetical 50/50 split and adjust the percentages upon consideration of each factor. Others start with a clean slate and develop an arrangement piece by piece. In still other cases, the couple may agree on how to divide most of the estate, but only require the court to settle one or two particular issues. Your property settlement must be developed based on the circumstances of your situation, so no two cases are exactly the same.

If you are considering a divorce and have questions about dividing marital property, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. Call 630-409-8184 to discuss your case with a legal professional who understands the law and will work with you in protecting your rights.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+V&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6100000&SeqEnd=8350000

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