While there are many reasons why a divorce can be contentious, one of the most disputed issues when parties are parting ways is that of asset division. In many cases, both parties feel as though they’re entitled to certain assets, leading to fighting over who gets what. If you’re getting a divorce in Naperville or surrounding areas of Illinois, understanding the law regarding division of property, and the methods available of navigating it, is critical. Here’s a look into what you need to know:
Asset Division in Divorce: What Does the Law Say?
In Illinois, the court requires that a divorcing couple divide their assets in a manner that is equitable. Equitable means fair but does not necessarily mean equal; couples are not asked to split their property 50/50.
The only property that is subject to equitable division in Illinois is marital property; separate property may be kept separate. Per 750 ILCS 5/503, marital property means all property, including debts, acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage. Separate property is that property which was acquired prior to the marriage or was acquired by gift or legacy, property exchanged, or property acquired during the marriage, or property that is exempted due to the terms of a premarital agreement.
How Will We Decide How to Divide Our Assets?
The best way to reach a property division settlement with your spouse is to work with your spouse and come to an agreement out of court. While going to court is certainly an option, court cases are long, expensive, and often emotionally exhausting too. Through mediated sessions and negotiation–which your lawyer can represent you during–you and your spouse may be able to come to an agreement without turning to the courts.
Of course, this is not an option for all couples. If negotiating with your spouse to reach an agreement seems impossible, asking a judge to issue a determination about asset division is an option. If a judge is responsible for making a determination, factors that will influence their decision and what is deemed equitable include:
- Existing prenuptial agreements;
- The length of the marriage;
- The health and age of both parties;
- The value of property involved;
- The economic circumstances of each party;
- An award for alimony;
- Any contributions or reductions in the value of marital property made by each spouse;
- Financial obligations of each party; and
- Other factors as determined by the court.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Yes – you absolutely should work with an attorney. Even if you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement without going to court, an attorney should, at the very least, review the agreement to ensure it is legally sound and equitable. Your attorney will also be available to help you understand the law, to represent you in court or in negotiations, and to gather evidence to support your case.
Call Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. Today
Before you start navigating the process of divorce and asset division on your own, give our experienced family law attorneys at the offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. a call. You can reach us by phone or by sending us a confidential message online. We have the experience and skill set you’re looking for in a lawyer.