If you and your spouse have decided to move on from your marriage, you’ll need to divide your assets before your divorce process can be completed. If you can’t agree on how to split the value of your marital estate, the judge assigned to your case will decide who gets what.
Most of the time, it’s better for spouses to reach a mutual agreement concerning asset division. However, that approach isn’t possible or appropriate in all cases. If your divorce turns contentious, you’ll need to construct an asset division proposal that is both equitable and protects your interests. If you and your spouse can agree on whatever division structure works best for both of you, you likely won’t have to justify why this approach is equitable to a judge.
Illinois Law stresses fairness
Unlike “equal distribution” states, Illinois law honors an asset division theory known as “equitable distribution.” This means that, if you’re divorcing in Illinois, you won’t be obligated to divide the value of your marital estate 50-50 with your spouse. Instead, you can choose to reach an agreement that is fair to both parties, even if that agreement grants more of the estate to one of you.
Keep in mind that if you can’t reach a mutual agreement, you’ll need to explain to a judge why your asset division proposal is truly equitable. Otherwise, you’ll risk the judge ruling in your spouse’s favor.
It isn’t easy to think critically about splitting all of the assets you’ve acquired over the course of a marriage that is ending. However, it’s important to take a forward-facing, proactive approach when dividing your marital estate. By investing your time and energy into splitting your property in ways that ground your life ahead, you’ll place yourself in the best possible position to achieve a healthy, financially-sound future.