Divorce is a complex and emotional process, and it can take longer than you might expect to reach a final resolution. In Illinois, there are several factors that can contribute to a lengthy divorce process.
March 17, 2023
How will an Illinois court divide assets and debts in a divorce
Marriage is a legal contract, and the division of property in a divorce is often one of the most contentious issues. In Illinois, marital property is divided equitably, which means that it is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs the division of property in divorce cases.
What is Marital Property in Illinois?
In Illinois, marital property is all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This includes property that is titled in only one spouse’s name, as long as it was acquired during the marriage. Marital property includes everything from the family home, retirement accounts, and investment portfolios to the family car and personal belongings. The only property that is excluded from marital property is property that was acquired before the marriage, property that was acquired after the spouses separated, or property that was acquired by gift or inheritance.
Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is divided equitably between the spouses. Equitable distribution does not mean that property is divided equally; instead, it means that the court will divide property in a way that is fair to both parties. The court considers several factors when dividing marital property, including:
The length of the marriage
The age, health, and income of each spouse
The contributions each spouse made to the marriage, both financial and non-financial
The value of each spouse’s non-marital property
Any obligations or debts of each spouse
Once the court has considered all of these factors, it will divide marital property in a way that it deems fair. In some cases, this may mean that one spouse receives a larger share of the marital property, particularly if that spouse has lower income or fewer assets. In other cases, the marital property may be divided equally between the spouses.
As mentioned earlier, non-marital property is not subject to division in a divorce. Non-marital property includes any property that was acquired before the marriage or after the spouses separated. It also includes any property that was acquired by gift or inheritance. However, it is important to note that non-marital property can become marital property if it is commingled with marital property or if it is used to benefit the marriage.
For example, if one spouse owned a home before the marriage, that home would be considered non-marital property. However, if the couple used marital funds to make improvements to the home during the marriage, the home may become marital property. In this case, the court may divide the value of the home between the spouses.
Division of Debts
In addition to dividing property, the court will also divide marital debts in a divorce. Marital debts include any debts that were incurred during the marriage, such as credit card debt, mortgages, and car loans. The court will consider the same factors when dividing debts as it does when dividing property. In some cases, one spouse may be ordered to pay a larger share of the marital debts, particularly if that spouse has a higher income.
Dividing marital property in a divorce can be a complicated and emotional process. In Illinois, marital property is divided equitably, which means that it is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. The court considers several factors when dividing marital property, including the length of the marriage, the age and income of each spouse, and the contributions each spouse made to the marriage. It is important to work with an experienced divorce attorney to ensure that your interests are protected during the property division process.
Divorce can be a complex and emotionally charged process, and having a skilled attorney to represent you can make all the difference.
Divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, especially when children are involved. In some cases, the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to represent the best interests of the child or children during the divorce proceedings