Illinois couples who are divorcing may have significant assets to divide. Although Illinois law states that this division must be equitable, it is important to keep in mind that in this case, "equitable" means fair rather than equal; the split may not necessarily be straight down the middle. A number of factors may be weighed by the court in deciding how to achieve an equitable division.
Depending on your relationship with your spouse, you might also negotiate to swap assets. Gifts and inheritances you received during the marriage and anything that you owned prior to the marriage are generally considered yours unless you have mingled them with other marital assets. Retirement accounts, however, are usually divided equally.
The court may weigh the length of the marriage and the earning power of both you and your spouse. If the marriage has lasted a long time and one of you makes significantly less than the other, the lower-income spouse might get more of the assets.
It is necessary to disclose all assets during the property division process, and being wasteful with assets might affect how they are split. However, behavior such as infidelity will have no bearing on this division. Furthermore, barring any domestic violence, forcing your spouse to leave the marital home is also not permitted.
Finding a way to work with your spouse and negotiate division is usually in everyone's best interests. Even if the courts are involved, negotiations can still remain amicable. However, this is not always possible, and in those cases, the law will protect you from having all of your assets seized by your spouse. You are entitled to a certain portion of the money and goods that you and your spouse acquired during the marriage, and we could help you work out an equitable divorce agreement in which you could retain many of your hard-earned assets. Visit our page about asset division during divorce to learn more.