Property Division

In any divorce, one of the central issues is the division of property. Property means both: (1) your assets – items with value and (2) your debts – what you owe. In Illinois, property is not just divided equally (50/50). Rather, property is divided “equitably,” which is the legal term for “fairly.” Often what each party believes to be fair is quite different.

How property division works in Illinois

In Illinois there are a lot of factors taken into consideration to determine what is the most reasonable way to divide marital property. Illinois Law establishes that the following matters need to be taken into account:

  • Agreements – Have the parties entered into any agreements about property division such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?
  • Dissipation – This is the hiding or depleting of any marital assets. For example, if one partner chooses to use the marital bank account to purchase a car for a significant other, this is dissipation. When dissipation occurs, the courts will often add the dissipated amount back into the marital estate.
  • Each partner’s contribution and potential – Whether financially or through homemaking, the courts will consider what each partner added to the marital estate. In addition, the age, health, occupation, skills, employability, other relevant economic factors, and future earning potential will be evaluated.
  • Length of marriage – There are no specific regulations about the length of the marriage and property division. However, the longer you are married, the more likely it is that property is marital property. In addition, the length of the marriage is used as a reference to help determine the value of homemaking and to ensure short-term marriages don’t favor someone just looking to get money.
  • Maintenance – During the process, your divorce lawyer will also address maintenance. Decisions made about maintenance can impact the property given or vice versa. 
  • Parental Responsibilities – Decisions made about child custody may also affect the decisions about property division. It is possible that the parent who the children will live with may receive certain assets to ensure the children’s needs are met. Parental responsibilities may also inform decisions regarding the family home.
  • Taxes – Whatever is decided about how property will be split, will affect the taxes each partner will owe. For example, if you choose to sell the marital home, you may be required to pay capital gains taxes. Having a qualified divorce lawyer on your side will ensure tax implications are factored into any agreement around division of property.

At Citino Family Law, we have extensive experience with property division and complex financial issues.

Our approach to property division

We have helped numerous clients with a range of financial situations and will guide you through the process to a solution that is best for you. Some of the property division issues we have addressed include:

  • Complex Financial Discovery
  • Business Valuation
  • Family Farms
  • Retirement Accounts and Pension Benefits
  • Real Estate
  • Tracing of Non-Marital Assets

Our experienced divorce lawyer will work with you to develop a strategy to protect your financial future.