Helping Ensure a Fair and Equitable Distribution of Marital Property in an Illinois Divorce
In an Illinois divorce, the judge has the power to divide up all of the marital property and distribute it to the parties in a manner the judge determines to be fair. There are many factors for the judge to consider in deciding what will make a fair distribution. If you are concerned about how the property will be divided in your divorce, if you are worried that your spouse is hiding assets or is misstating the value of income or property, or if you want to make sure that your own separate property is kept out of the property settlement, you will need a knowledgeable and experienced Illinois family law attorney on your side to protect your rights and promote your interests. At Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee, we put our years of experience representing parties in divorce matters to look out for our clients’ best interests regarding the division of property in divorce.
Equitable Distribution under Illinois Law
The judge is required to make an “equitable distribution” of marital property. The property does not have to be divided equally between the parties, but the division must be fair. In deciding how to divide the marital property in a fair manner, the court will look at factors such as:
Each party’s contribution to the acquisition of marital property, including a spouse’s role as homemaker
Any dissipation of the property by either party
The length of the marriage
- Each party’s economic circumstances, including their age, health and earning capacity
Other important factors for the court to consider include whether the family home should go to the parent who is primarily responsible for raising the kids, what type of maintenance award is being made, any existing support obligations from a prior divorce, and whether the parties negotiated a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Defining Marital and Separate Property is Key
The court has power to divide the parties’ “marital property.” Understanding what property is marital and what property is separate is key to a fair and equitable distribution of property. Basically, marital property includes all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during marriage, with the exception of gifts or inheritances made specifically to one spouse. However, there are many ways that separate property may become marital property, or even that marital property may become separate. The determination of marital versus separate property can actually become quite complex. Also, it is not uncommon for one party to try to hide assets from the other spouse in a divorce, in order to keep the property from being divided. An experienced attorney can help determine whether a spouse is hiding assets.
In addition to locating all property and properly characterizing it as marital or separate property, another essential part of the property division is making sure every piece of marital property is accurately valued. While some types of property can be easily and objectively appraised, other types of marital property can be very complex and complicated to value. The experienced family law attorneys at Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee understand how to characterize and value complex property such as business interests, stock options and profit sharing plans, pensions and more.
Get Help with the Property Division in Your Illinois Divorce from Experienced and Knowledgeable Chicagoland Divorce Attorneys
For practical advice and effective representation regarding the division of property in your divorce, contact Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee at our offices in Hoffman Estates and Des Plaines.