If you are going through a divorce or considering beginning the process soon, you and your spouse will have to work with the court to divide your property. Knowing that you could soon lose a portion of your shared assets and property to your spouse can be daunting, but do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed. Property division is an important part of nearly all divorces. Your attorney should be able to guide you through this and the rest of the divorce process.
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for the property division process is to understand how the process works. The court considers multiple factors when it divides property among divorcing couples and tries its best to reach settlements that are fair to both parties. Be honest with your attorney and your spouse about your goals and desires for your divorce settlement. Most divorces are settled outside of court in a process known as alternative dispute resolution. If you have a fairly amicable relationship with your spouse, this could be a productive option for you. Ask your attorney about alternative dispute resolution to learn more about whether or not it would be advisable for you to pursue this route.
Types of Property
Only marital property may be divided between you and your spouse during a divorce. Marital property is any property that you and your spouse obtained together during your marriage. This includes real estate, vehicles, shared bank accounts and stocks, and personal belongings such as furniture and household goods.
Property that you owned prior to your marriage or received as inheritance or gifts is considered to be non-marital property. This property is not subject to division by the court during your divorce.
Factors Considered when Dividing Property
Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that property divided between divorcing spouses is not divided 50/50. Instead, each partner’s contribution to the marriage’s net worth is weighed against his or her actual and anticipated needs after the divorce to create a fair settlement for both parties.
The court looks at the following factors to make its settlement decision:
- The duration of the marriage;
- Each partner’s contribution to the growth and the depreciation of the couple’s shared assets and property;
- The couple’s child custody and child support arrangements, if applicable;
- Each partner’s health and age;
- Each partner’s current income and potential for future income;
- Each partner’s debt load; and
- Any obligation either partner has to a former spouse or children from a previous marriage.
Other factors may be considered as well, depending on the couple’s circumstances. The grounds for the divorce and either partner’s behavior prior to or during the divorce do not factor into the division of the couple’s property.
Divorce Attorneys in DuPage County
At Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C., we always put our clients’ needs first. Call our firm at (877) 889-4515 for your free legal consultation with one of our team’s experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys. You will have the opportunity to discuss your case, your goals, and your concerns with an attorney who understands what you are going through and can give you the legal guidance and provide top quality representation for your case.