The division of property in a divorce can be one of the most contentious parts of the process. Many people enter these proceedings with misconceptions about how Illinois law handles this aspect of divorce.
Dispelling these myths can help you make informed decisions.
1. Everything gets split 50/50
One of the most common misconceptions is that all property gets divided equally. However, Illinois uses an equitable distribution model, which means the court divides marital property fairly, not necessarily equally. The court considers various factors like the duration of the marriage, the economic circumstances of each spouse and the value of the property.
2. Separate property always remains separate
Many believe that if they owned property before the marriage, it will automatically remain separate in a divorce. While it is true that Illinois law considers separate property as non-marital, complications can arise when separate property gets mixed with marital property, also known as commingling.
3. Only physical property gets divided
People often think property division only involves physical assets like houses and cars. But in reality, property division includes all assets and debts, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds and even business interests.
4. Mothers always get the house
There is a common belief that the mother always gets the house in a divorce, particularly if there are children involved. However, who gets the house depends on various factors, including who can afford to maintain it, whether it is in the best interest of the children and whether you prefer to make other arrangements.
5. The spouse who cheated gets less
While infidelity can be a factor in some divorce proceedings, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. This means that marital misconduct, including infidelity, does not affect property division. The court focuses on a fair distribution of assets rather than assigning fault.
6. The breadwinner gets the most
Just because one spouse earns more money does not mean they will receive more property. Illinois law looks at the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of marital property, not just who earned the money.
Divorce and property division can be complex issues. Each case is unique and the court considers a multitude of factors in making decisions. To protect your interests, get accurate information and avoid these common misconceptions.