Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that divorcing couples must divide their marital assets equitably upon dissolution of their marriage. Couples who are unable to come to an agreement on their own in an out-of-court setting will leave the decision in the hands of a judge who will determine what is equitable. It is important to remember that equitable does not necessarily mean equal, so there is no guarantee that a court will divide a couple’s assets down the middle. For help ensuring that your own assets are divided equitably during your own divorce, please contact an experienced Skokie property division lawyer who can assist you.
Illinois’ equitable distribution law only applies to marital property, so it is extremely important for divorcing couples to have a firm understanding of what qualifies as a marital asset. Under state law, marital property includes all assets, as well as debts and obligations, that are acquired by either spouse during marriage. The only exceptions to this rule apply to:
These types of assets are referred to as non-marital property, even when acquired during a marriage, and are not divisible upon divorce, but remain in the sole possession of the original owner.
Once all of a couple’s property has been categorized as either marital or nonmarital, the parties (by agreement) or the court (if an agreement cannot be reached) will determine how the marital assets will be divided. When making this determination, courts assess a number of factors, including:
After applying these factors, courts will create a property settlement that it deems equitable and fair. These decisions also depend in large part on the value of the assets in question, making it especially important for divorcing couples to ensure that all of their assets, whether marital or separate, are properly appraised and valued by an expert.
To speak with an experienced Skokie property division lawyer about your own divorce-related questions and concerns, please contact The Law Offices of George M. Sanders P.C. You can reach a member of our legal team via phone or online message. Initial case evaluations are offered free of charge, so please do not hesitate to contact us today.