Illinois is an equitable distribution state. During the property division process, assets are divided between divorcing spouses in a fair and equitable manner. Unlike community property states where each spouse receives half of the marital estate during their divorce, there is no set rule that states each spouse will receive half or 50%. [/caption]

Factors that affect marital property 

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, courts takes into account a variety of different factors during the property division process that impact what each spouse receives in the settlement. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • How much each spouse earns and the individual separate property owned by each spouse
  • The financial needs of each party
  • How much income each spouse is capable of earning in the future
  • Any emotional, physical or age-related impairments that could compromise each spouse’s earning potential
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage

The court is also permitted to consider any other factors that they deem just and equitable to divide a couple’s property. For example, a wife chose to stay home with her children throughout the course of her eight-year marriage to raise her two young sons. Her husband, who is a mortgage broker, makes approximately $400,000 a year. During the division process, the court awards her 60 percent of the marital property and the husband receives the other 40 percent. Because the wife’s earning capacity is limited, she receives the larger portion of the estate.

In comparison, a husband and wife decide to divorce after three years of marriage. Both of them are employed and they do not have any children. Since both spouses are capable of providing enough income to support themselves individually, the court’s only stipulation is that they must each pay half of the $20,000 of debt accumulated during their marriage.

The division process 

When dividing the marital estate, the court goes through a valuation process to determine which property and debts are considered marital or separate. After this process is complete, a monetary value is assigned to each asset or debt. Finally, the court divides the assets between each spouse.

The equitable distribution process is often one of the most challenging aspects of divorce for couples. Since all marital assets are subject to the court’s discretion, it is difficult to predict the outcome of how the property will be divided. Couples who are concerned about how their assets will be split up may benefit from consulting with a divorce attorney who can provide guidance and more information about the process.


Should you have any questions about marital property or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.

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