The Basics of Asset Division in Illinois Divorces
Asset division is one of the major issues that must be addressed in any Illinois divorce. Whether a couple already agrees how they will divide their marital property, or anticipate having to go through a long, drawn-out court battle to reach a settlement, the question of finances must be resolved before the divorce can be finalized.
Because asset division laws vary from state to state and the process of asset division is often dramatized or oversimplified in pop culture, misunderstandings about the process are common. Couples looking to get divorced in Illinois are often surprised by how much they do not know. In this blog, we will dive into common facts about asset division in Illinois, but be sure to contact a divorce attorney for answers to your fact specific questions.
Equitable v. Equal
Some states require divorcing spouses to divide their marital estate equally - that is, with both parties receiving equal shares of whatever property, investments, and cash were earned during the marriage. Illinois, however, requires divorcing spouses to divide their estate equitably. This means that couples will need to take into account each partner’s financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage, as well as each partner’s legitimate needs following the divorce.
The factors that divorcing spouses are asked to consider (and that a judge will consider if a couple cannot resolve their financial issues without help) include, but are not limited to:
- Each party’s income and property
- The earning capacity of each party
- Whether either spouse has a condition that legitimately impairs their ability to earn a living
- The standard of living the parties enjoyed during the marriage
- Whether one or both spouses ever had a period where they gave up educational or professional aspirations to raise the couple’s children
- Whether either party dissipated marital property
- How long the marriage lasted
- Any spousal maintenance agreements
- The tax implications of any proposed property division agreements
Mediation vs. Trial
Divorces rarely end up at trial. Instead, couples are encouraged to create an asset division agreement together, with the help of a mediator if necessary. Judges can order a couple to attend mediation sessions together before a case is allowed to proceed to court. One or both spouses may be ordered to pay for the mediation. If an agreement is not reached through the mediation process, the parties’ attorneys may negotiate a settlement agreement on their behalf.
Asset Division Appeals
Spouses who feel as though a court applied the law wrongly in the asset division process can appeal the case, but there are only 30 days to do so. Unfortunately, dissatisfaction with the final asset division is common and appeals are only rarely granted. However, an experienced divorce attorney can help you examine your case and give an opinion as to whether an appeal is appropriate.
Contact a Kane County Asset Division Lawyer Today
Understanding the asset division process in an Illinois divorce is essential for ensuring you do not underestimate the marital assets you deserve. Call 630-665-7300 today to schedule a consultation with a St. Charles, IL asset division attorney with Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. We will help you make a full accounting of your marital assets and seek out any issues that could affect the distribution of assets, such as dissipation. Call today.