Dividing property in an Illinois divorce is often an emotional process. You may become attached to property that must then be distributed in the final divorce settlement.
While mediation allows you and your spouse to divide property without the assistance of the courts, traditional divorce enables the judge presiding over the case to determine who is entitled to what under state statutes.
What is equitable division of property?
Illinois is one of many states in the nation that follows an equitable division of property model when it comes to distributing property and assets. Rather than split all marital assets and property 50/50, equitable division allows the judge to split marital property based on what is deemed fair to both parties.
According to Illinois state statutes, the judge may look at several factors when making the decision to divide property, including the following:
- Each parties contribution to acquiring the marital property
- How long the marriage lasted
- Value of property awarded to each spouse
- Age, occupation, health and resources available to each party
- Whether there are children involved
- Whether there are prenuptial or postnuptial agreements involved
The judge may also look at the tax consequences for each party and make decisions based on the best interest of everyone involved.
What is separate property?
Not all property is divisible in the final settlement. Separate property is property and/or assets you may have had prior to the marriage. It may also include inheritance money or gifts given to you by a third-party during the time you were married. It is critical that these items remain separate and do not get mingled in with marital property, however, or they will lose their separate status. Once this occurs, they may be divided in the final settlement as marital property.