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Working through property division in an Illinois divorce

| May 14, 2020 | Divorce, Family Law |

It is difficult to say exactly what the hardest part of the divorce process is, but the reality is that all divorcing couples in Illinois and elsewhere are dealing with changes because of the process. Not only are they moving forward with being single, but they are also leaving the marriage with roughly half of what they enjoyed during the marriage. Property division can evolve into a high conflict topic, especially when each spouse states a claim for specific property. Thus, it is important to not only understand the property division law specific to the state of Illinois but also what steps are necessary to prove that specific property is in fact personal and separate property.

The state of Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that property will be divided between spouses in a fair manner, which often means that it will not be an equal split. In couples where there is a higher earning spouse and a lower earning spouse, it is likely that the higher earner will get a greater percentage than the lower earner.

When establishing who gets what, it first needs to be determined what will be divvied up. Marital property is essentially most items and assets that were acquired after the wedding up until separation. Thus, property acquired before the marriage and were kept separate during the marriage will remain with that spouse after the divorce.

The focus might be on the assets and property that get divided; however, it is important to note that debts could also be divided during dissolution. If a debt is associated with only one spouse, such as student loans or gambling debt, it is likely that this debt will remain with that spouse. However, if a debt is jointly held, such as a credit card or car loan, then this debt will be divided.

The property division process can get further complicated when one adds in retirement funds, inheritances and even business assets. If a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement was not included in the union, then these assets will need to be assed and determined if they are subject to division.

When disputes surrounding property division arise, this could lengthen and complicate the divorce process. It can be challenging to let some things go. Whether it is something that holds sentimental value or an asset that is in fact separate from marital assets, divorcing spouses should understand their rights and options when it comes to resolving this and other divorce issues they might be dealing with.

View the profile of Illinois Family Law Attorney Alex Fawell
DCBA | DuPAGE County Bar Association Member
Lead Counsel Rated Attorney