There’s a chance you’ve accumulated a lot of assets though your marriage. Or maybe you weren’t married long enough for many assets, accounts or investments to stack up. Regardless of how much you have, all your marital property is subject to division during the divorce process.
The laws regarding property division can give you a better picture of what you will keep after your settlement. And knowing about the equitable distribution system that exists in Illinois can help you prepare your property settlement agreement.
Equitable distribution factors
Under equitable distribution, all property acquired through the course of your marriage is subject to a division that is fair. Your marital property might include the family home, furniture, vehicles and bank accounts. This concept may be hard to grasp at first because it doesn’t mean that you will be able to keep half of everything you shared as a couple.
Instead, there are a variety of factors that a judge will look at before approving a division of assets. For starters, a judge might ask who helped marital assets grow or decrease throughout the marriage. This includes both taking on jobs to maintain household expenses and serving as a homemaker to support a spouse’s career. The court will also consider how financially stable you will be after separating from your spouse. This might include reviewing your employability, your health and age and any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements you’ve signed.
Treatment of separate property
It’s worth mentioning that if you’ve kept assets you had prior to your marriage separate from your spouse, then these assets won’t be subject to division. State law doesn’t allow courts to split up gifts or inheritances you receive during marriage either. This is because the court often views gifts and pre-marital property as non-marital or separate property. So, a car you paid off prior to your marriage and a car that you bought with an inheritance check that only listed your name might both fall under separate property classification.
Since this property division process can be a lot to take in at once, it’s important to start with listing out every asset and belonging between you and your ex before getting too overwhelmed. You won’t want any assets to slip through the cracks, so this will help you create a solid foundation for you and anyone else assigned to your divorce case.