If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may have deep concerns about how a judge might distribute property between you.
In Illinois, the court divides marital assets according to a principle of “equitable distribution.” Rather than award each party an equal share of the marital estate, a judge may award a greater portion to you or to your spouse depending on certain factors.
1. Marital assets are subject to division
Most types of property that either you or your spouse obtained after you married became shared marital property, subject to division during divorce. In addition to your home, marital property may include bank accounts, investments, retirement or pension plans and other types of assets, regardless of whose name is on an account or title.
2. Several factors can affect the court’s distribution
The court tries to distribute assets according to what it considers in the best interest of your children and fair to both you and your future ex. Factors a judge may consider include:
- The ages of spouses and duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s income, education level and employability
- Economic and non-economic ways that each spouse has contributed to the family and marital assets
- Which spouse will have custody of children after divorce
3. Hiding or wasting assets may impact awards
If either you or your spouse wasted or tried to hide shared assets during your marriage or while preparing for divorce, a judge may decide to award a greater amount to the non-offending party.
Unfortunately, neither you nor your future ex may be happy with how a judge decides to distribute property. However, if you can agree to negotiate a settlement outside of court, an uncontested divorce may allow you to maintain control over separating shared assets.