When you decided to end your marriage, you probably went through many emotions, including panic and fear. You want to know how you will get on financially after the divorce.
Whether you face a courtroom battle or come to an agreement without the help of a judge, it would help to understand the factors that Illinois judges consider when dividing marital property. The first thing to know is that Illinois is an equitable property state, which means that you will receive a fair and equitable portion of the marital property that may not constitute an equal split.
Property division factors
Before considering how to divide a marital estate, you must determine whether any property exists that you or your future former spouse own separately. Separate property belongs to either you or your soon-to-be ex-spouse, and the court will not consider dividing it. Ordinarily, any property acquired after the date of your marriage becomes part of the marital estate. Factors that contribute to property division by the court include the following:
- The duration of your marriage
- The contributions of each of you to increasing or decreasing the value of the marital property
- The contributions of each of you to the preservation or purchase of the marital property
- Whether you will receive marital property in addition to receiving or paying spousal support
- The value of each piece of property awarded to each of you
- The tax ramifications for each of you in connection with the property you receive and your finances
- Your and your spouse's economic circumstances at the time of the division
- The occupation, health and age of each of you
- The employability, vocational skills and income sources of each of you
- The reasonable opportunity for you and your spouse to earn income in the future
- The needs, liability and estate of each of you
- The custody provisions of your children, if any
- The reasonable opportunity you and your spouse have to acquire assets in the future
- Whether you or your spouse have obligations from a prior relationship
Of course, if you have special circumstances such as a disability, a special needs child or some other relevant circumstance, the court will more than likely consider it as well. It is up to you to protect your rights and receive the property to which you are entitled. Fortunately, if you need help, it is available.