Assets division is often the most contentious part of divorce proceedings.

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning the distribution of assets may not be equal. However, it will be fair.

Marital property

Property purchased during the marriage is marital property and subject to distribution in a divorce. Examples may include bank accounts, real estate, automobiles, securities, pensions, household items, and retirement plans. Long marriages often have significantly more assets to divide, and typically it does not matter whose name is on the documentation of ownership.

Non-marital property

Non-martial property can be anything acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage. It may also include assets obtained after legal separation, received as a gift or inheritance, or acquired by judgment. For example, if you receive a substantial sum of money from a deceased relative and keep it in an account with your name, you would retain the entire amount after a divorce.

Factors a judge considers

Some factors the judge may consider when making decisions about equitable division include:

  • The value of the property assigned to each spouse
  • How long the couple stayed married
  • Whether either spouse receives alimony
  • Each spouse’s age, health and financial status
  • Each spouse’s employability based on occupational and educational background
  • Any custody agreement in place for minor children

If you have a prenuptial agreement, the court will abide by the terms first.

The laws governing asset division are often complex. Ideally, both spouses will agree on how to divide property prior to divorce, making the process faster and less difficult.

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