Illinois follows a system of equitable division in divorce cases. This means that, rather than split belongings equally in half, a court will decide how assets should get distributed in a way that is fair to both parties.
How this affects your assets will largely depend on a couple of different factors.
Marital property or separate property
In the process of a divorce, marital property is subject to division. While there are some exceptions, this is generally considered anything acquired during the duration of the marriage. It does not matter whose name is on the deed of the lake house, for example, if you bought and used it after your nuptials. Separate property, on the other hand, is a property that one party owned prior to the marriage, although it can also include some gifts or inheritances received while married.
Factors for fairness
Courts will examine aspects of your relationship and the circumstances of your separation from your spouse. Some of the more common factors considered when determining the terms of a divorce are:
- Contributions of each spouse to the marital estate
- The length of the marriage
- Employability and financial circumstances of each spouse
- Pre-nuptial agreements
Any property discussed or included in a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement may be exempt from equitable distribution provisions. These are binding legal contracts and present individualized requirements for many different things, including asset division and spousal support.
If you and your ex cannot come to an agreement, you can expect a court to decide what equitable distribution looks like for your estate.