Property Division

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Factors that Impact Property Division in Illinois

Illinois is an equitable division state and not an equal (i.e. 50/50) state. However, most, if not all Judges will start at a point of a 50/50 division and will deviate from that on a case by case basis. Among the factors to be considered are the contributions of each spouse to the marital estate, the ability of each spouse to acquire additional marital property, the non-marital property of each spouse, and the dissipation of the marital estate, if any, by a spouse. Non-marital property is a property that is acquired prior to the marriage, obtained by gift or inherited. It is possible for non-marital property to become marital property under certain circumstances.  Dissipation occurs when a spouse expends marital funds or assets for a purpose other than day to day living expenses or for purposes that are not related to the marriage. This has to occur after the marriage has broken down and there is a time limit on how far back this dissipation can go.

The division of the marital residence is one of the more difficult issues to address. While it is important to keep children in the same home, consideration must be given to the expenses associated with keeping the house. The marital residence can be sold, or one spouse can buy out the other party. The former option is appropriate particularly when the spouses cannot agree on the value of the residence.

Retirement plans are generally divided equally.

The possession of pets can now be addressed in a property settlement agreement.

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