Couples who are planning to get a divorce are likely to wonder how their property will be divided. Understandably, a big concern for you when you are facing a divorce is what will happen to your assets and what you stand to “lose” to your ex-spouse. If you have questions regarding asset distribution and other aspects of an Illinois divorce, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Illinois divorce attorney who can answer questions specific to your individual situation.
Like many other states, Illinois follows the theory of equitable distribution. Unlike a community property state where everything is essentially divided in half, equitable distribution means the asset division is fair and equitable. In other words, assets are not split down the middle. A family court judge will look at particular factors, and that may mean one person gets asset X, while the other spouse gets asset Y, both of which have similar value.
Determining What is Separate and Marital Property
One of the first steps in asset distribution during a divorce is to determine what assets are subject to being distributed. This is referred to as separate and marital property. Marital property includes the assets and liabilities a couple acquires during the course of their marriage. Separate property is anything that belongs to one spouse only.
Determining what is separate property is not necessarily as straightforward as you might imagine. Sometimes, separate property can convert into marital property without spouses even realizing it. This is often due to commingling, which is where assets become mixed, causing separate property to become marital property. For example, a separately owned bank account can become marital property if the other spouse has made deposits to it.
Factors Considered in Asset Distribution
If you are unable to reach an agreement on your own regarding asset distribution, the court, or maybe even an arbitrator, will make a ruling. Some of the factors they look at when deciding how to divide a couple’s assets include:
- How long the marriage lasted.
- Each spouse’s job, employability, and vocational skills.
- Whether one spouse will receive spousal maintenance.
- The economic situation of each spouse.
- Each spouse’s opportunity for the future in regards to income and additional asset acquisition.
- Custody arrangements, if there are children.
- The value of all property assigned to each spouse.
- The contributions made by each spouse to the marriage.
- Whether one spouse wasted or purposely tried to decrease the value of marital property.
- The effects of any prenuptial agreement in place.
- Each spouse’s health and age.
In some cases, especially ones involving high-value asset portfolios, it is necessary to retain experts to determine the value of a particular asset. If you and your spouse own a business together or have a lot of investments, you may need the expertise of a forensic accountant and business valuation expert, as you may have a complex divorce situation. Experts can also be used when there is the chance the other spouse is hiding or depleting assets.
Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney
If you have questions regarding asset distribution or are involved in disputes over marital property during your divorce, you need an experienced Lisle divorce lawyer on your side. Contact Momkus, LLC today at 630-434-0400 to schedule an initial consultation.