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Asset Division in a Divorce

Posted on in Property Division

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.


One of the greatest challenges of getting a divorce is unraveling the years’ worth of property entanglement that has occurred by virtue of marriage. Indeed, it can be impossible to know who owns what, as in the majority of cases, both parties have invested in or contributed to the purchase of nearly all assets in a marriage. Which leads to the question: How does property division work in a divorce? Here’s what you need to know about property division laws in Illinois:

Illinois is an Equitable Division State that Recognizes Marital Property

Unlike community property states that require that property in a divorce is divided equally–which means a 50/50 split–Illinois is an equitable division state, which means that all property must be divided in a manner that is equitable, or fair, but not necessarily equal.


Going through a divorce doesn’t just mean parting ways and forming new lives independently of one another; it also means divvying up property. While couples are encouraged to divide property on their own in a manner that they see fit and both agree to outside of court, in some cases, resolution cannot be reached, and a couple must turn to the court system for guidance. When this is the case, the court will follow Illinois’ laws regarding property division in making its decision.

What Do Illinois Laws Say About Property Division in a Divorce?

Illinois courts recognize the equitable division of marital property. Marital property, as found in 750 ILCS 5/503 means all property, including both debts and assets, that were acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage, with the exception of property that was acquired by gift or legacy, property acquired in exchange for another property that was acquired prior to marriage, and property acquired after a judgement of legal separation is issued (you can see the full list by referring to the cited code).

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