Marital property: Figuring out who gets what during a divorce

A couple has much to figure out when they have made the decision that their marriage has come to an end. One of the discussions Illinois couples who have decided to divorce need to have pertains to marital property, including the family home. In Illinois, all property obtained by the couple during the course of the marriage is considered marital property.

Illinois is not a community property state, so everything may not be divided equally, but equitably. What does equitable distribution mean? When going through a divorce, it is important to have some understanding of the factors in the process. Regarding equitable distribution, here are some things the court may contemplate:

  • How both individuals contributed to the marital property — to its value, its purchase, or preservation;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • Income, age, health, skills and needs of both people;
  • The value of property designated to each spouse;
  • Any obligations or rights from previous marriages;
  • Child custody;
  • Financial picture of both parties once property division takes place;
  • How each spouse might fare in securing future assets and income;
  • Tax implications of property division.

Separating marital property can be complex and confusing. Separating property in Illinois must be fair and reasonable and there are certain things not considered to be marital property such as inheritances, so getting independent legal advice from an attorney experienced in family law would be a wise step. Property division can also be affected by a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement which have the propensity to override the law in most instances.

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