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Chicago Attorneys Answer Property Division FAQs

How is property of the marriage divided in Illinois?

What is considered to be marital assets?

Are all marital assets that were acquired before the marriage considered to be non-marital?

Who decides how marital assets should be divided?

What does the court consider when dividing marital assets equitably?

How can I make sure I get the property and assets I deserve after my divorce?


Q: How is property of the marriage divided in Illinois?

A: Illinois is an equitable distribution state. "Equitable" means "fair," not "equal." It may be more equitable, given the state of the marriage and the conditions of the spouses, for the majority of the property to go to the husband, instead of the wife, or vice versa.

Sometimes equitable distribution results in an equal division, or a very close approximation of an equal division. There are a number of factors, which play into determining what is equitable in each individual case. For example, the Court will look at whether one spouse will be receiving support from the other, the ability of each spouse to earn income and the ability of each spouse to accumulate assets in the future. There are other factors that the Court will consider as well.

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Q: What is considered to be marital assets?

A: A wide variety of items can be considered marital assets, including: bank accounts, property, houses, and other material goods such as furniture, jewelry, vehicles, and other things of value that were acquired during the duration of the marriage.

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Q: Are all marital assets that were acquired before the marriage considered to be non-marital?

A: Typically, yes, however there is an exception if property was attained in anticipation of the marriage. Property that is purchased by a couple shortly before their marriage and is lived in together by both parties during the duration of their marriage may be considered to be marital property.

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Q: Who decides how marital assets should be divided?

A: You and your spouse can agree or the court does. The court will classify which assets, debts, and properties of a divorcing couple should be considered marital and which are considered to be non-marital. Then, the court assigns a monetary value to the assets before distributing them equitably between both parties. This does not mean the marital assets will be equally divided between both parties, but rather what the court decides is fair. Marital misconduct does not influence the outcome of this distribution.

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Q: What does the court consider when dividing marital assets equitably?

A: There are several factors that can influence how the court will distribute a divorcing couple's marital assets during their divorce, including:

  • Each party's contribution to the attainment, preservation, and increase/decrease in value of the marital or non-marital property. This also includes contribution from a spouse who was considered to be a homemaker.
  • Each party's dissipation of the marital or non-marital property.
  • The value of the property assigned to each party.
  • The length of the marriage.
  • Whether either party has obligations or rights from a previous marriage.
  • Whether a pre-marital agreement was arranged between the parties.
  • Both parties' age, health, occupation, source and amount of income, employability and skills, liabilities, and their needs.
  • Whether any child custody issues are involved, and which party is responsible to provide for the children.
  • Whether the property division is in place of or in addition to maintenance payments.
  • Each party's reasonable opportunity for future attainment of assets and income.
  • The tax consequences of the property division upon each party's economic circumstances.

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Q: How can I make sure I get the property and assets I deserve after my divorce?

A: If you're facing divorce in Illinois and have questions about how the assets of your marriage will be divided, call Nottage and Ward, LLP. Our Chicago divorce attorneys can answer the questions you have while advising you on the best course of action for your specific situation. To find out whether our skills are a match for your needs, call (312) 332-2915 today.

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Illinois Property Division Lawyer Disclaimer: The other legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. Please contact an attorney for a consultation on your particular divorce matter. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of Illinois.

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