Factors Affecting Property Division in Illinois
When couples decide to get divorced in Illinois, they have to undergo a long legal process to completely separate them emotionally, physically, and financially. One of the most difficult, often contentious, parts of the process is property division, especially when one or both partners are unwilling to cooperate or compromise to settle the matter. In such a case, the courts have to step in and decide the matters considering a number of factors.
The Property Division Process in Illinois
Unlike many states, Illinois is not a community property state where marital property is divided equally. Instead, it is an equitable division state where the property is subjected to equitable distribution depending on different factors and individual circumstances of each spouse. Moreover, property and assets acquired during the course of marriage are considered to be marital property.
The first step for property division is the identification of all assets and property. The process involves each party to disclose all their property. It can also be done by conducting a formal discovery process which includes interrogations, depositions, subpoenas, producing essential documentation, and other methods.
Once all assets and property have been identified and recorded, they are classified as separate and marital property. Moreover, everything goes through a valuation process. For some assets, this is a straightforward step, while for others, such as closely held businesses, real property, antiques, private investments, and others, the services of a valuation expert are required.
Factors Contributing to Property Division Decisions
Once all property and assets have been identified, classified, and valued, an Illinois judge will take into account the following factors to decide how they can be equitably distributed between the divorcing spouses:
- The length of the marital relationship
- The value of property belonging to each spouse
- The age, status, and health of each spouse
- The effect of provisions of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements
- The needs and liabilities of each spouse
- Whether a spouse should be awarded maintenance
- The education, vocational skills, occupation, and employability of each spouse
- The obligations of each spouse from previous marriages, including maintenance and child support
- The probability or opportunity of each spouse to acquire income or assets in the future, like inheritance
- Contributions to any wastage of separate or marital property or decrease in their value
- Contributions to the preservation, acquisition, or elevated value of marital property, such as contributions made as a homemaker
- Any tax consequence associated with the property division
- Custodial or guardianship agreements for children of the marriage, if any
- The financial circumstances of each spouse
- The right of each spouse to be awarded the family home, or to live in it for a suitable duration if the party has been assigned the parental responsibilities.
The court will evaluate each factor carefully to determine the fair distribution of property in the best possible way.
If you are going through a divorce and want an experienced attorney to handle your property division and other matters, contact the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov, P.C. today at (847) 241-1299 to schedule a free initial consultation.