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How Do We Divide Our Belongings in an Illinois Divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2022 | Divorce

An Illinois divorce has several important issues that must be resolved. If there are minor children, child support and custody schedules need to be decided. The question of whether spousal support should be paid needs to be answered. Finally, couples need to divide the assets and money they have accumulated during their marriage according to Illinois law.

While some states require spouses to divide their marital estate equally, Illinois requires asset division to be fair, leaving neither spouse with a disproportionate amount of marital assets or marital debt. This means each couple will have a different outcome in their asset division; what worked for your friend or family member may not work for you. Fortunately, most couples find that with respectful negotiation, they can make it through the asset division process and come to an agreement that works for both partners.

Dividing Bank Accounts

Bank accounts are usually among the easiest assets to divide because their value is easily known. If both partners contributed equally to a couple’s savings, regardless of their income, it makes sense to split a savings account equally. If one spouse earned more and contributed more to the savings account, that spouse may be able to negotiate for a greater portion of the funds.

Dividing Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts can be tricky to divide because spouses often earn part of their retirement account balance before getting married. Retirement accounts are also usually made up of investments that can fluctuate in value regularly. Before they can be divided, retirement accounts need to be valued, and the amount that existed in the account before the marriage needs to be differentiated from that which a spouse earned afterward. Spouses may need to get something called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO, which allows a spouse to receive a portion of their partner’s benefits directly from the retirement plan administrator. Other times, spouses negotiate their assets in such a way that each spouse keeps their own share of the retirement account.

Dividing Real Estate

Dividing real estate is another potentially complex area of asset division because the value of a home or property needs to be assessed, which takes time and money. If one spouse wants to remain in the family home, he or she will need to think carefully about whether that is something that would be affordable. Otherwise, spouses typically sell their property and divide the proceeds.

Dividing Marital Debt

Debt taken on before marriage is typically seen as the responsibility of the spouse in whose name it belongs. Debt taken on during the marriage, however, is usually regarded as the responsibility of both spouses, even if only one spouse has their name on the debt. How marital debt is divided will depend on each spouse’s earning potential, why the debt was taken out, and how the debt benefitted the marriage.

Call a Chicago, IL Divorce Lawyer

Asset division can be a tough part of getting divorced, but many couples resolve this process with negotiation and careful planning. To get help dividing your marital assets, call NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq. at 312-442-2225 to schedule a free consultation with a Chicago, IL divorce attorney and get started as soon as possible.