In every divorce there has to be a division of property. Whether a couple has a high net worth or has relatively modest means, there will be marital property that must be divided between both parties. States treat marital property differently; therefore, it is important to understand how Illinois handles property divisions.
What is Considered Marital Property in Illinois?
Marital property is defined by state statute in Illinois. It includes all property that is acquired by either spouse after the marriage except for property that falls into eight categories that are defined as non-marital property. Non-marital property includes:
- Property that was acquired by one of the spouses through gift, legacy or descent (so think gifts and inheritances);
- Property that was acquired in exchange for property that one of the spouses had before the marriage or in exchange for property acquired through gift, legacy or descent;
- Property that one of the spouses acquires after there has been a judgment of legal separation;
- Property that has been excluded by a valid agreement of the parties, like a valid premarital agreement;
- Any judgment or property obtained by judgment awarded to a spouse from the other spouse;
- Property acquired before the marriage;
- The increase in value of property in categories 1-6; and
- Income from property acquired by a method listed in categories 1-7.
As a general rule each spouse will get to keep his or her non-marital property.
How is Marital Property Distributed?
Under Illinois law, marital property is not divided equally. Instead it is divided equitably. This equitable division does not take any purported “fault” for the divorce into account. Instead the court will consider the following factors:
- Each spouse's contribution to the marital property's value including the contribution a spouse makes as a homemaker to the family unit;
- The dissipation by either spouse of the marital or non-marital property;
- The value of the property assigned to each spouse;
- How long the marriage lasted;
- The economic circumstances of each spouse;
- Any obligations and rights arising from a prior marriage;
- Any premarital agreement;
- The age, health, occupation, income, job skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each spouse;
- Any child custody arrangements if relevant;
- Any maintenance award;
- The opportunity of each spouse to earn income and acquire assets in the future; and
- The tax implications of the separation of property.
Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C.
If you are going through a divorce you will need the help of an experienced Illinois family law attorney. Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today at 630-665-7676. Divorces are complicated legal matters and their effects can last a lifetime. Whether your divorce is acrimonious or relatively harmonious, you will be better off working with professionals who have spent their careers working out situations like yours.