When you start thinking about divorce, you probably have a lot of questions. What happens to your shared property? Will the courts really close all of your joint credit cards? There may be personal questions that you would like answered as well, including concerns about custody matters.
However, for many couples, the most immediate and pressing issue is how they will divide their property and separate their financial resources. Some couples don’t have to worry about the uncertainty of court because they already have a prenuptial agreement.
Others will either need to settle with their spouse outside of court or prepare for litigation. If a judge must weigh in on your property division matters, what approach will they have to employ under Illinois state law?
Illinois prefers the fair or equitable distribution of property
Illinois, like many other states, has an equitable distribution rule. If couples have to ask a judge to intercede on property division matters, the judge should aim for a resolution that is fair.
To reach a decision about what would be appropriate or fair, judges typically need to learn a bit about the marital relationship and review a thorough inventory of assets and debts. Factors ranging from the length of the marriage to the health and earning potential of each spouse will influence what is fair for both your assets and your financial obligations in a divorce.
Spouses can make their own decisions outside of court
You have very little control over what a judge decrees is fair in your divorce proceedings. Regardless of how carefully you build your case, you have no way of knowing how their personal experience and unspoken biases might influence their decisions.
If you and your spouse can cooperate with one another, then you can decide for yourselves how to share your property. From who keeps the marital home to how you handle your credit cards, those are decisions that you can potentially make as long as you agree with one another about the solution you employ. If you have complex, valuable property or very specific personal goals in a divorce, mediation or collaborative negotiations may be a better solution for your situation than open litigation in court.
Learning more about what you can expect during property division proceedings in an Illinois divorce will help you employ the best strategy given your circumstances and goals.