One of the most common questions during a divorce is, “Who will get the house?” This and other property division questions come down to the specific laws in Illinois. Property division laws determine the outcome of asset distribution in a divorce case.
Each state has unique divorce and property division laws. Understanding the laws in Illinois can prepare a couple for the process to come.
Achieving an uncontested divorce in Illinois
Not all divorce cases in Illinois come down to the courts making property division mandates. Uncomplicated divorce cases can have the couple dividing property on its own, without a judge’s intervention. A couple will generally have the power to determine property division on its own during an uncontested divorce case.
If both spouses can agree to the terms of a divorce petition, including those dealing with child custody, child support and asset division, a judge will typically sign off on the decree. The couple may then avoid divorce court and split up their marital properties as they see fit. If the couple cannot agree, however, the case may go to court.
When the courts intervene – equitable division
Illinois is an equitable division state, not a community property state, when it comes to divorce. The property division laws in Illinois say a couple does not need to divide marital assets down the middle. Instead, the courts may divide the property according to what is fair. The courts may take into account many factors when making a property division decision, including the following:
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage (economic and noneconomic)
- Property values
How long the marriage lasted
- Economic circumstances
- Wasting or hiding assets
- Prior marriages
- Pre- or post-nuptial agreements
- Child custody
- Spousal maintenance
The law bars the courts from considering marital misconduct during property division decisions. This means even if one spouse cheated on the other, this will not affect the court’s decisions during asset distribution. Working together to achieve an uncontested divorce can leave property division within the couple’s power.