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What Is “Equitable Distribution” and How Can It Impact My Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Elgin divorce attorney property division

If you are considering divorce, you may be wondering what will happen to all the “stuff” that you and your spouse have accumulated over the years. Who will keep the house? As a non-working spouse, are you entitled to any of your cumulative savings? And, what about the condo that you purchased a few years ago? All of these questions are common for divorcees. After all, filing for divorce will change your life in more ways than just separating from your spouse. Depending on the state that you live in, the way that all of your “stuff,” also known as marital property, is divided can vary. For Illinois residents, things will be divided equitably, but not always equally.

Equitable Distribution Versus Community Property

Those filing for divorce may incorrectly believe that everything will be split 50/50 between them and their spouse, while others may be concerned that they will not get much at all during the division process. For a select few states that follow community property laws, things really are divided 50/50, and while this may seem like a more fair way to do things, some would argue that additional consideration should go into the division process. For the vast majority of the United States, Illinois included, the court follows equitable distribution laws when it comes to divorce. According to equitable distribution, a judge will consider a number of factors about the couple’s marriage, financial status, and more before making a decision about how things should be divvied up.

What Does the Court Consider?

When dividing marital property, the following circumstances are the primary drivers behind the court’s decision:

  1. Length of the Marriage: The longer you have been married, the more property you have likely accumulated, and the more your finances are commingled. This is especially true for those who have combined retirement funds. The shorter your marriage is, the less complicated the division process will be and the more likely the court is to divide things 50/50.

  2. Earning Power: For couples who have been married for an extensive period of time, the court will likely grant the lower-earning spouse with more marital property to make up for the income discrepancy. This is especially true for those who have been stay-at-home parents in order to care for their children. These spouses will have a greater financial struggle moving forward, which is why they are awarded additional property or finances.

  3. Children: If you and your spouse are parents, this can impact who gets what in the divorce. A judge typically provides the custodial parent with the family home in order to keep the children in the same environment and school district to avoid disrupting or uprooting them. 

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney for Help

For couples with amicable relationships, the asset division process can go smoothly, without conflicting input from both parties. If, however, you and your spouse have a contentious relationship and struggle to agree on things, this process can further tear you apart. The team at MagnusonRapp Law LLC is here to advocate on your behalf, fighting for your right to the property and savings that you built up throughout your marriage. Our firm is prepared to guide you through the process and help you come out financially independent on the other side. If you are considering divorce, contact our Geneva, IL divorce lawyers at 630-402-0185 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-where-you-divorce-mat_b_3824647

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k503.htm 

 

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