One of the biggest concerns most people going through a divorce have is how the property will be distributed and whether one party will be entitled to more assets if the other party’s misconduct led to the divorce itself. First off, Illinois is an equitable property state and the court is prohibited from considering marital misconduct when dividing the marital estate. In every case, the court will try to divide the property fairly without even considering the wrongdoings of either side. The type of property subject to division includes but is not limited to pension and retirement accounts, stocks, homes, and vehicles. In order to divide the property equally, the court will consider factors such as: the duration of the marriage, value of the property, each person’s contribution to the property, the needs of both parties, and obviously pre-nuptial agreements.
Next, the court will have to decide whether the property subject to division is considered non-marital or marital property. Non-marital property is any property acquired before the marriage occurred or property acquired by gift or legacy. This also includes the increase in value during marriage of that particular property. Marital property is basically all property acquired by either spouse during marriage. It includes property such as vehicles, homes, or stocks, and is subject to equitable division upon dissolution of the marriage. The courts will look at the nature of the property and how it was acquired, rather than who owns the title. For example, even though a retirement plan is on one spouse’s name, if that plan was acquired during the duration of marriage, both sides have common ownership in it. Although it may seem fairly complex, the division of property is considered on case by case basis and majority of cases are settled after all the factors have been considered.