Property Division

JOLIET Property Division ATTORNEYS

The legal process of divorce is more than just dissolving your marriage; it is the legal transfer of ownership of all the shared property you and your spouse acquired while married. This may seem straightforward at first, but countless possible variables can complicate the process, and divorcing couples are not always exactly willing to compromise.

Illinois upholds an equitable distribution law for property division during divorce. Many people believe that this law requires the court to divide marital property equally, but the court’s definition of “equitable” does not always mean 50/50. If you are preparing to divorce and are concerned about property division proceedings, a Joliet, IL property division attorney is a great resource as you navigate this complicated process.

Providing Legal Guidance in Joliet

Vahey Law & Mediation, LLC offers experienced and responsive legal representation for the most difficult divorce cases. We understand that property division during divorce can be a very contentious issue. Sometimes, the emotional tension between divorcing spouses can interfere with a smooth transfer of ownership rights in divorce. As your Joliet property division attorneys, we can help. The team at Vahey Law & Mediation will provide an objective and reliable point of view through all phases of your divorce and help you achieve the most satisfactory result possible.

How Does Property Division Work in Illinois?

Every state upholds different statutes when it comes to divorce. While some states follow community property laws that require a strict 50/50 division of marital assets, Illinois upholds the equitable distribution law. This means that property division in divorce may not be exactly even, but the court makes every effort to ensure it is equitable.

Generally, the family court of Illinois strives to ensure that there is as little need as possible for long-term maintenance or alimony, but these factors do come into play in some cases. When the court decides property division in divorce, a judge will consider numerous factors to arrive at their best interpretation of an equitable distribution of the divorcing couple’s marital property, including:

  • The amount of separate property each spouse owns. Separate property can include anything a spouse owned prior to the marriage, inheritance from relatives, and assets gained through their sole efforts.
  • The job skills and earning capacity of each spouse. If one spouse is more capable of earning income than the other, the court will likely award them a larger share of marital property to account for the difference.
  • Each spouse’s age and overall health. The court must determine whether it is realistic to assume that each spouse will be fully capable of earning a living alone.
  • Any evidence of wasting, or frivolous spending of marital assets. For example, if one divorcing spouse attempts to drain a shared bank account prior to marriage to reduce the other spouse’s ultimate share of their marital property, this would reflect very poorly on them during property division proceedings.
  • The reasonably expected ability of each spouse to acquire new assets in the future.
  • The existence of a prenuptial agreement between the spouses.
  • The tax implications of the property division on both spouses.
  • Each spouse’s custody rights and child support rights determined through divorce proceedings.

It is important to remember that the Illinois family court system does not recognize “fault” in the divorce as grounds to award property. This means that if one spouse has committed a fault like adultery, the court cannot punish them for this behavior by awarding the other spouse more property during equitable distribution proceedings. However, if one spouse misused marital property while married, such as using a shared bank account to fund an affair, the court would consider this while allocating the couple’s marital property during divorce proceedings.

The Benefits of Negotiating Your Divorce Settlement

The equitable distribution system aims for fairness and logic when assigning marital property ownership following divorce. However, the court abides by relatively strict statutes. The judge overseeing the property division will likely not have much knowledge of the personal dynamics between the divorcing couple. Divorce mediation is an alternative to litigation that can potentially allow a divorcing couple to draft a more personalized property division agreement.

During mediation, the divorcing spouses will meet with a neutral mediator, typically an attorney with a solid background in Illinois family law. Each session provides the divorcing couple the opportunity to negotiate the terms of their divorce privately, including who will retain which assets as they finalize their divorce. This system effectively allows the divorcing couple to “trade” assets and property until they reach a mutually agreeable property division arrangement. This can prevent the need to liquidate assets and divide proceeds and ultimately allows the spouses to maintain more control over their divorce proceedings.

Mediation not only allows a divorcing couple to keep their negotiations private and reach a more personalized result in their divorce agreement but also save significant amounts of time and money handling their divorce. Litigation is extremely time-consuming. When a couple goes to court to settle their divorce, the end result is almost entirely out of their control. Even if divorcing spouses cannot fathom negotiating with one another peacefully, it is always best for them to recognize the value of collaborative divorce mediation and the benefits of being open to negotiation with one another.

Why Do I Need Legal Counsel?

No matter how simple and straightforward your divorce may seem at first, it is crucial to understand that navigating the legal process of divorce without an attorney can be a major mistake. Some assume that representing their own interests would save money on legal fees. However, they stand to lose much more if they do not have an experienced attorney who can help them navigate the complex legal statutes that are likely to come into play in any divorce case.

Your Joliet, IL property division lawyer can help you ensure all the documentation you need for property division proceedings is complete and accurate. They can also assist you in arranging mediation sessions, providing valuable legal guidance every step of the way as you work toward finalizing your divorce. If you are ready to consult an experienced Joliet, IL property division attorney concerning your divorce case, contact Vahey Law & Mediation, LLC today and schedule a consultation with our team.


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