If you are divorcing in Illinois, you may be expecting that the equitable division of marital property will be split 50/50, fair and square. However, Illinois is an equitable division state and therefore property is divided in a way that is proportionate to what is fair, not necessarily to what is equal. A fair division will often work out to be roughly 50/50 in a majority of cases, but a judge may decide to award one spouse a greater percentage of the marital property after considering various factors:
- The earning power of each spouse and their current financial conditions. In some cases, one spouse may have given up a career to stay home with kids thereby diminishing their earning potential or the ability to land a well-paying job once the marriage ends.
- The value of each spouses separate property. The assets each party brought into the marriage as opposed to being acquired during the marriage (marital property). Separate property might also include inheritance or gifts given only to one spouse.
- The degree to which each spouse contributed to the acquisition of marital property. This may leave those who were not breadwinners concerned, but remember that sweat equity counts too. If you held down the fort, took care of the kids, or helped you spouse forward his or her career through education or otherwise, this is a worthy contribution right up there with a paycheck.
- Courts will also consider a variety of other factors such as the ages and health of the parties, future financial needs, spousal maintenance awards, the liquidity of marital property, and if there is a prenuptial or post nuptial agreement that informs how property and alimony will be handled.
Some people going through a divorce are triggered by infidelity, substance abuse, or other behaviors that damaged the marriage and wonder if they will receive a greater percentage of marital property because of that. To the extent that it affected the couple’s finances, perhaps. If your spouse squandered marital property to buy gifts or otherwise support an extramarital affair, those assets should be offset in your favor. If an expensive drug habit waylaid your marriage, you may be entitled to a greater percentage of marital property in exchange for the marital assets lost supporting a drug addiction. It is important to work with an experienced Illinois divorce attorney who will fight for your fair share of marital property.
There are many factors to consider in the equitable division of marital property. If you have questions regarding Illinois marital property division, contact the Libertyville divorce attorneys of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for more information at 847-680-4970.