Marriages lasting more than five years often involve disagreements over property distribution. Although one partner may threaten to take everything from the other in a divorce action, this threat is fundamentally without merit. Illinois law is precise and specific regarding who receives what property in a divorce, and a spouse's threats of having the power to take the house, furniture and other valuable items from another spouse are usually unfounded.
Under Illinois divorce law, an "equitable" distribution of material goods during a divorce is legally recognized, not an "equal" distribution. This means that while a married couple may have two cars, one of which is worth more than the other, and two motorcycles, the distribution process does not necessary give each spouse a car and motorcycle. If one car is worth $15,000 and the other is worth $5,000, then one spouse may receive the less valuable car in addition to the two motorcycles (each worth $5,000). In other words, each spouse would then have "liquidable" assets worth $15,000.
Additionally, divorce laws in Illinois state that any property obtained by either spouse following the marriage and before finalization of the divorce is considered marital property even if a car or house is titled to one spouse only. Once two people are married in the state of Illinois, property acquisition by either spouse is a legal component of the marital estate upon divorce.
However, certain property is acknowledged as "non-marital" property under Illinois divorce law. This type of property includes gifts, inheritance, property obtained following a legal separation judgment, property acquired by one spouse in a previous divorce settlement and any property that both parties agree should be awarded to one spouse. Illinois courts also have the power to distribute property according to each spouse's economic circumstances. If a divorce judge sees that one spouse has stable employment and the other does not, or is unemployable for medical reasons, that judge may be inclined to distribute property in less equitable fashion in order to provide some financial security to the unemployed spouse.
If you are planning to file for divorce in the Chicago area, and are concerned about receiving a fair settlement, don't hesitate to contact a Naperville divorce attorney whose expertise and experience with divorce courts can assist you in obtaining the divorce settlement you’re entitled to.
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