There are two types of classification of states when it comes to the division of property in a divorce: Community property states and equitable distribution states. In community property states, all the marital assets get divided 50/50.
Illinois, however, is an equitable distribution state where property may or may not be divided equally. In equitable distribution states, the goal is to make sure that the distribution and division of a couple’s property and debts are done equitably — and that may not mean splitting things down the middle.
Circumstances that may result in an unequal distribution of assets and debts
Since Illinois is an equitable distribution state, the following factors are considered when fairly and equitably dividing assets and debts:
- Contributions: The court takes into consideration each spouse’s contributions towards purchases and investments.
- Length of marriage: The court also considers the length of the marriage. The longevity or brevity of marriage may result in an unequal distribution of assets.
- Special considerations: If one spouse has a disability or ongoing health issue, then the court will take this into consideration when dividing assets.
- Income differences: When one spouse has significantly less income than the other spouse, it could result in an unequal distribution of assets.
- Employability: When one spouse has little to no employment options, the court will consider this. Sometimes spouses work to put their partner through college. The court takes these sacrifices into account.
- Debts: When one spouse is disproportionately responsible for marital debts, then these too may be split unevenly.
The goal of the court is to not overly burden either spouse. Naturally, this can lead to a lot of disputes when spouses disagree about what “equitable” actually means. Having experienced guidance when going through a divorce in Illinois can help to make sure that your rights are protected during the property division process.