Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that when you file for divorce, a judge will not always split your assets evenly but equitably.
When you have significant assets, this division can seem incredibly unequal. This is what you should know about equitable property division in high-asset divorces.
The property you acquired before you got married is typically considered non-marital property. If you started a bank or retirement account before you got married and did not contribute to it during your marriage, it is non-marital property. Real estate and vehicles you owned prior to your marriage typically remain yours. Your pre-marital debt is typically your responsibility.
Marital property includes everything you and your spouse purchased during the marriage, including real estate, artwork and vehicles in addition to bank and retirement account contributions that occurred during the marriage.
Factors in property division
The division of your marital property will depend on several factors, including the length of your marriage, the value of your assets and how much you and your spouse contributed to your joint assets. For example, you may receive the house if you were the primary breadwinner and paid for it.
The courts will consider the income, earnings potential and financial standing of you and your former spouse. Judges evaluate the health, occupation, skills and employability of parties as well. However, property maintenance, custody of minor children, payments from prior marriages, taxes and earning potential may impact distribution changes.
The courts will split both your marital assets and debts based on their values and these factors as well as any prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Prepare to negotiate for the assets you value most, especially your retirement accounts.