During their twenty years of marriage, Harry and Barbara’s attitude toward money was that it belonged to them as a couple. They shared the family finances and had joint bank accounts in both their names Also, because they earned almost the same amount of income, it would make sense to divide the family money 50-50 during divorce. That is what most people would think, but that is not an entirely correct answer.
The term that correctly describes division of marital assets in Illinois is “equitably”. While you may think this means that assets will be divided equally, this is not the case. Rather, it means that marital assets will be divided fairly. Other than income or salary, the court system considers other aspects when it comes to division of assets. For instance, if Barbara decided at one point in her career to give up a very lucrative job to spend more time with the family, the court would take that into account. The amount of money or income they’ve separately earned in the past, their standards of living, and capacity to earn in the future are also considered. Items such as businesses and property owned by each spouse, stocks and bonds, retirement or pension plans, and how each spouse helped to acquire marital property will also be taken into consideration by the court. Other than these, the health and financial needs in the future of each spouse, any prenuptial agreements, and debts are also factored into the equation.
It gets even more complex when the divorce process involves children. The court will always support what is in the best interest of the children. Regarding children, an equitable settlement should be made when one spouse was solely responsible for feeding the children most of the time and making sure they got to and from school. Because one spouse takes more duties and responsibilities with the children, he or she could be awarded a higher percentage of the marital assets in order to facilitate the best interests of the children.
Equitable distribution takes into account what is fair for both parties. If you can agree amicably on division of property, then there is no need for you to settle things in court. However, it is still extremely helpful to have a divorce attorney by your side to make sure you are taking into account all your assets and are not overlooking anything that could come back to haunt you in the future.
We are here to guide you through the divorce process from start to finish. Schedule your consultation today to see how we can help you take your life from chaos to clarity.