How do Illinois courts go about dividing property and assets in divorce proceedings?

| Jun 3, 2021 | Family Law |

In general, it is good for spouses who are getting a divorce to attempt to reach a mutual agreement about what property and assets each person will get. If they cannot arrive at an agreement themselves, a judge will issue a ruling.

While each case is different, there are some procedural guidelines that courts follow consistently. Here are some things people seeking a divorce in Illinois should know about how courts handle property division.

Rulings about property division usually precede orders for spousal support

Dividing what a couple owns is one of the first steps in a divorce hearing. Courts will normally issue a ruling on this matter before making an order for spousal support. However, a court may enter a temporary or interim order for support before finalizing a divorce.

Courts divide only marital property

Illinois courts do not split up everything that each spouse owns. They can rule only on the distribution of marital property, which generally consists of property that spouses acquired during a marriage and owned together.

Illinois follows the “equitable distribution” model

In states that follow the “community property” model, courts will typically split assets right down the middle. Illinois does not follow this model and instead applies the “equitable distribution” model. This model’s goal is to divide property in a way that would be most equitable for both parties rather than just 50-50.

There is no uniform formula that courts use to divide marital property. They attempt to reach a fair resolution based on the evidence that both parties present.