Illinois is one of those states that has neither equitable distribution laws nor community property laws in place to dictate the property division process. For this reason, it is not uncommon for individuals who are on the brink of divorce to wonder if, like in community property states, divorce judges split marital assets 50/50. The short answer is no.
According to FindLaw, in absence of a statute requiring equal distribution, Illinois courts generally adhere to an equitable distribution standard. What this means is that the judge presiding over your case will attempt to divide your marital assets “equitably” — which means fairly, but not necessarily equal.
There are several factors a presiding judge will consider before distributing property, the biggest of which is the contribution both you and your spouse made to the marriage. “Contribution” does not necessarily have to be financial. For instance, if you or your spouse stayed home, cared for the children and maintained the home, the judge might consider that a major contribution. The judge will also consider your contribution to the purchase, preservation or increase or decrease in the value of marital property.
The duration of your marriage will also affect the judge’s determination, as will the age, overall health, occupation and vocational skills of both you and your spouse. The judge will also consider factors such as custodial arrangements, the possibility of alimony, any liabilities that arise out of the marriage and the tax consequences of the property division, amongst other factors.
The information in this post is for educational purposes only. It is not designed to serve as legal advice.