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How does Illinois divide property during a divorce?

| Mar 12, 2020 | Divorce, Family Law |

The divorce process may seem overwhelming. Whether you filed for the divorce or your spouse, it may still take a significant toll on your emotional as well as financial wellbeing.

One of the most significant aspects of a divorce is dividing property. The term may make you think of tangible property like a house or car, but in fact it encompasses anything that you and your spouse accumulated while married. Understanding how this property will split may help ease the stress of the unknown. Familiarize yourself with the process under Illinois law.

The equitable distribution of property

Some states have laws that seek to equally divide marital property, giving each spouse 50%. However, Illinois adheres to the equitable distribution practice during divorce. Under this, the court considers many factors when deciding how much of the pot each party gets:

  • How long your marriage lasted
  • The age of you and your spouse
  • The relative health of you and your spouse
  • Each person’s contribution to the marriage, financial or otherwise

Equitable division only applies to marital property and not what you came to the marriage already owning. The amount of separate property may also become a factor if the court has to decide how to divide things.

Not just favorable distribution

You likely took out loans and credit card debt while married. During a divorce, this debt also divides between you and your spouse. The same equitable distribution principle applies to any marital debt. If you have a credit card in your name, the court may decide whether to add it to the marital debt or make you solely responsible. In the case of a credit card used for business purposes or activity like an affair, the court may force the spouse whose name the card is in to keep all of the debt.

Having a clear picture of your assets and debts can help you determine what type of split the court may decide. With the help of an attorney, you could reach a settlement with your spouse before the court intervenes.