In an Illinois divorce case, property may be divided by agreement of the parties or the court may hear evidence and decide how to allocate both debts and assets.
When the court divides marital property, there is no presumption of a 50/50 split. Instead, the court is charged with making a just division, based on all relevant factors. Some specific factors cited include:
The court must also consider any valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement of the parties.
While the court may consider these and many other factors in determining allocation of marital property, such property must be divided without regard to marital misconduct.
In a divorce case, the court is dividing only marital property. Certain types of property owned by one spouse or the other are not considered marital property and are not subject to division. For example, the following property is not considered marital property and will not be allocated by the court:
All pension benefits and stock options acquired after marriage and prior to judgment of dissolution or legal separation are considered marital property subject to division.
Separating marital property from non-marital property may be complicated, particularly if you’ve been married for a long time and have significantly mingled your assets, or one spouse has invested effort that increased the value of non-marital property.
We can help you determine which property is subject to division and build a case for treating property that doesn’t fall clearly into one category or the other as non-marital property, meaning that it would remain your separate property.
If you’re not able to reach an agreement with your spouse, we’ll need to build your case procedurally and with evidence.
First, it’s critical that you understand or are represented by someone who understands the technical procedures associated with property division. For example, one of the factors the court considers in dividing property is dissipation of assets. But, if your spouse has dissipated your marital assets, you can’t simply show up at the hearing and state your claim. If you plan to argue dissipation, a notice must be filed containing specific information and according to a specific timeline.
Likewise, witnesses, appraisals and other evidence must be disclosed in advance, and may be excluded from consideration if proper procedures aren’t followed or deadlines aren’t met.
This type of technical detail is the last thing you want to be worried about when you’re going through the process of divorce and transitioning to a new living situation. We’re here to help. If you’re facing a contested property division hearing, we’ll keep track of the deadlines, file the necessary paperwork, assist you in responding to discovery requests, and help you assemble the evidence we’ll need to make your case.
Leave the next steps in our hands. Contact the experienced attorneys at Callahan & Hockemeyer, P.C. for help with property and asset division.