How is property divided in an Illinois divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2020 | Uncategorized |

Going through a divorce is stressful. One of the most difficult aspects is negotiating with your spouse how you will divide any property you’ve acquired during your marriage. Will you keep the home you bought shortly after you wed? Will your spouse automatically get half of any other property or investments?

Equitable property division

Before you begin the process of dividing assets, the first thing you should know is that Illinois is an equitable property state. This means any assets or debts you and your spouse accumulated in your marriage won’t necessarily be split 50-50. You will divide any assets with your spouse equitably, which includes assessing the following factors:

  • How long you and your spouse have been married
  • What income and property each spouse brought into the marriage
  • The age and physical/emotional health of each spouse
  • The income and earning potential of each spouse
  • The contributions one spouse might have made toward the other’s education, training, business or earning power
  • The financial situation of each spouse after the divorce is final
  • Prior marriages and child support obligations from those

Financial records and valuations

As part of your divorce property division, your attorney will need you and your spouse’s complete financial information. You will need to gather a lot of documentation for that, including the following:

  • Bank account statements (for both joint and non-marital accounts)
  • Pay stubs and other sources of income
  • Tax returns for the past three years
  • Retirement saving account statements
  • Other investment statements
  • Deeds, titles or leases for property
  • Vehicle titles
  • Loan information for mortgages, vehicles, student loans or personal loans
  • Credit card statements
  • Insurance policy information
  • Itemized list of personal property such as jewelry, furniture or other items

Marital assets vs. non-marital property

Another aspect that must be determined is which of you and your spouse’s assets or debts are marital property. This can be difficult because even if you bought your home before your marriage, if your spouse contributed money toward repair or renovation costs, the mortgage and taxes, your spouse will be eligible for part of what the home is worth.

It’s always best to work closely with an experienced divorce attorney while dividing assets with a spouse. An attorney can help you determine what might be non-marital property and what a fair divorce settlement is.