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Equitable Distribution of Assets in Divorce Does Not Mean Equal

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. Aug. 21, 2020

When people in Illinois are married, they share their lives together. This shared life includes sharing any property that they may acquire during the marriage. The couple shares this property regardless of whose name is on the title, who purchased it or whose name is on the account. While there are some exceptions to this rule, most property either spouse acquires during the marriage is considered marital property.

If the couple ends up going through a divorce, the marital property needs to be divided as the couple will no longer be sharing the property. In Illinois, the property will be divided equitably. This does not mean that each spouse will keep what is in their names only, it also does not necessarily mean that the marital property will be split equally. Both of those scenarios could occur depending on the circumstances,

Equitable Distribution: The Reality

In order to determine how the property will be divided a judge will analyze a number of factors. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • The contribution of each spouse in acquiring the asset, maintaining it or increasing its value;

  • How long the couple was married;

  • The financial circumstances of each spouse;

  • The age, health, education, work experience, training, current income of each spouse, needs of each spouse;

  • Future income capabilities of each spouse;

  • Tax consequences of the division of assets;

  • Custody determinations and needs due to those.

What You Need to Keep in Mind

In every divorce in Illinois, the marital property of the couple will need to be divided. How the property is divided will vary on the circumstances though. It can also be a very complicated process. Some assets will require appraisals to determine the actual value. There also could be marital and non-marital assets combined in certain accounts and the non-marital assets will need to be separated before division. Experienced attorneys understand the process of property division and may be able to guide one through the process.