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Understanding how equitable distribution works

Some states are community property states, mandating that any marital property is split equally. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which provides for perhaps a more fair division by taking each spouse's circumstances into account. At Lois Kulinsky & Associates, Ltd., we understand the importance of protecting the assets to which you are entitled following a divorce. In order to have reasonable expectations, it is important to understand how equitable distribution works.

Non-marital property, which can include inheritance or other assets acquired outside the marriage, is not subject to division. Marital property includes wages accumulated during marriage as well as just about any other items one or both spouses gain during the marriage. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act requires a judge to consider the following when dividing marital property

  • How much each party contributed to the asset's acquisition
  • Obligations stemming from a previous marriage
  • Provisions for children
  • The reasonable opportunity for a spouse to earn income
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • Any relevant economic circumstances associated with each spouse

Additional considerations include the tax consequences of dividing property as well as the age and health of each spouse. Because the terms of equitable division are so specific, there is no one-size-fits-all equation to simplify the process. Instead, couples going through a divorce or separation will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Our attorneys at Lois Kulinsky & Associates, Ltd., can uncover and protect assets ranging from vehicles to offshore accounts to frequent flier miles. We understand how the law applies to each case and how to sort marital and non-marital property. For more information on this topic, please visit our property division page.

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