Division of property is required in nearly all divorce proceedings. Some couples find that they can come to a relatively simple agreement about who will receive what property and who will assume responsibility for which debts. For other couples, however, this division of assets can be extremely contentious. Therefore, it is important to understand the law governing contested divisions of assets in Illinois if you are currently separating from your spouse.
What is Marital Property?
Marital property includes all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage except for gifts, inheritances, property obtained in exchange for property acquired before the marriage, property obtained after a judgment of legal separation, property excluded by a valid agreement between the parties (like a valid prenuptial agreement), any property awarded to a spouse from a spouse in a different judgment, property acquired before the marriage, and income (or increased value) from one of these types of property.
How Marital Property is Divided
The division of marital property in a divorce is governed in our state by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. While for some couples just splitting everything right down the middle may make sense, under Illinois law, the distribution of property does not necessarily need to be mathematically equal.
Any non-marital property will be awarded to the appropriate spouse. Then the marital property will be divided without considering marital misconduct in just proportions. In determining what is just, the court will consider many factors, including, but not limited to:
- The contribution of each party to the property, including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or to the family unit;
- The dissipation by each party of the property;
- The value of the property assigned to each spouse;
- How long the marriage lasted;
- The relevant economic circumstances of each spouse; and
- Any obligations one party may have from a previous marriage.
What if the Parties Agree on the Division of Assets?
If the parties want to enter into an agreement regarding property division, they are allowed to do so. The agreement between the parties will be binding on the court when it comes to property division matters. This differs from matters of child custody. In child custody matters the parties cannot bind the court because the best interests of the child always superseded any agreement.
Call the Divorce Attorneys at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C.
Divorce is never easy. When you are going through divorce, you deserve to have the assistance of an experienced and passionate Illinois divorce attorney. Call the attorneys at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 and we will schedule a consultation to go over your situation and determine how we can be of help.