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One of the most difficult parts of divorce for many couples is the property division process. From the house and cars to valuable furniture, everything must be divided between divorcing spouses. Because Illinois is an equitable distribution state, how a couple’s property is divided during the divorce process is determined by how the court sees fit.   

Determining factors 

There is no set rule that determines which spouse receives which assets during the property division process. However, according to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the court will divide the couple’s property depending on a variety of factors. These include the following:

  • The contributions each spouse made to increasing or decreasing the value of marital property
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • Each spouse’s earning currently and their ability to provide an income for themselves in the future
  • How old each party is and their current emotional condition
  • What contributions each spouse made to the other’s education, training or professional licensure

The court will also take into account any other factors that they deem necessary while dividing a couple’s property. For example, a mother decided to stay home and raise her two young sons during her eight-year marriage. Her husband receives an annual salary of $500,000.During the property division process, she is awarded 60 percent of the marital estate and her husband receives the remaining 40 percent. Due to her limited earning capacity and absence from the workforce, she is awarded a larger portion of the couple’s assets.

In contrast, a couple decided to end their marriage after three years together. Both spouses have full time jobs and do not have children. Since both spouses are able to support themselves individually, each spouse receives approximately half of the marital property.

The valuation process 

During the initial stages of the equitable division process, the court determines which assets are considered marital property and which items are separate property. Then, each asset and debt is assigned a value. After this is done, the court divides the property between each spouse.

The property division process can be an extremely challenging aspect of getting divorced for couples. Since courts do not abide by a specific set of rules and instructions for dividing property, it may be difficult to know which assets will be awarded to which spouse. Divorcing couples who desire to know more about how their property will be divided during the process may benefit from consulting with an attorney who can provide guidance at this time.