Property division disputes are common in many divorces in Illinois. This is true regardless of the financial circumstances. It can happen to people who have significant assets, those who are considered middle class and people who are of modest means. Oftentimes, people enter a marriage with certain property they consider their own. After they are married, they accrue different levels of property ranging in value. Sifting through complex property division issues first requires an understanding of state law and how it treats property.
If the couple acquired property while they were married, it will generally be viewed as marital property. With that, it will be assessed as property of both parties and divided accordingly. This is the marital property presumption. However, the state courts will also seek equitable distribution of property. There will be a goal of fair division. “Fair” does not necessarily mean it will be split in half without gauging the circumstances of the marriage itself.
In many marriages, the spouses both contributed to purchasing, preserving or altering the value of property one way or the other and this will be considered. The value of the property that each spouse has assigned will be calculated. Some marriages last longer than others – if it was a short-term marriage or a long-term marriage, these factors can be important. Some people are of substantial means when they get married while their spouse is not as well-off. This is considered. For spouses who had previous obligations from marriages in the past, that must be factored in. Children are an important part and the custody decision will be important. If, for example, there was a marital home, the custodial parent might be awarded the property to provide continuity and stability for the child.
People who are in the middle of a divorce and are worried about how their property will be allocated could may need to get more information about the property division process in their own unique case.