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What Is Equitable Division in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerThe cultural stereotype of asset division in divorce is that all marital debts and assets are split 50/50, but the reality is more complicated. While some states do have “community property” where marital assets are divided equally, Illinois is not one of those states.

In Illinois, divorce law requires something called “equitable division.” Equitable division is exactly what it sounds like: Marital assets and debts are divided according to what is fair, rather than right down the middle. Here, we will look at what factors judges can use when determining equity, and other issues that might contribute to the division of marital assets.

What Factors Into Equitability?

Because Illinois is a “no-fault” divorce state, spouses do not have to give a reason for divorce besides irreconcilable differences. Even if one spouse committed an act of infidelity that led to the end of the relationship, spouses cannot “fault” each other in divorce proceedings and courts will not award more marital assets to the spouse who was cheated on.

What matters most in property division disputes are factors related to the financial contribution of each spouse (including homemakers, who are often seen as equal contributors) and the future circumstances of each spouse as a consequence of the divorce order. Judges in Illinois have wide discretion when making decisions about a couple’s asset division, but they use consistent reasoning. Some of the most important things they consider are:

  • How much money each spouse earned during the marriage
  • How long the couple was married
  • Education levels of each spouse
  • The future potential earnings of each spouse
  • A spouse’s physical or mental disabilities
  • Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements
  • Marital debt incurred by either spouse
  • Dissipative behaviors from either spouse

What Is Dissipation?

The one exception to the court’s inability to hold a spouse at “fault” and award the other spouse more in asset value is if one spouse dissipated marital assets. Dissipation is the wasting of marital assets for purposes unrelated to the marriage after the relationship broke down.

A spouse who had an affair and spent significant amounts of marital money on his or her new paramour, or a spouse who went on a revenge shopping spree in the hopes that the other spouse would have to help pay for it, could be examples of marital dissipation.

If the court finds that dissipation occurred, the value of the money wasted can be awarded to the other spouse. Each spouse is entitled to their share of marital property, and Illinois courts take dissipation seriously.

Contact a Burr Ridge Property Division Lawyer

If you are considering divorce and have questions about equitable property division, contact a qualified Hinsdale divorce attorney with Botti Marinaccio, LTD. We can help you get your fair share of marital assets, and if necessary we will litigate on your behalf in a court trial. Schedule a confidential consultation by calling our office today at 630-575-8585.




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2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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