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During a divorce, how are an Illinois' couple's assets divided?

Scales of Justice.jpgDivorce is a legal process through which matters related to a divorcing couples' assets, debt, property, personal belongings and children are decided. While on a personal level the divorce process is highly emotional, it's important to understand the legal aspects of the divorce process and how divorce laws can impact the outcome of one's divorce settlement. 

Illinois is considered an equitable distribution state. This means that, if necessary, a judge makes decisions with regard to the division of a divorcing couple's property, assets and debts based upon what he or she deems to be fair.   

In some cases, with the assistance of each spouse's attorney, a divorcing couple may be able to negotiate some or all of the terms of a property settlement on their own. In cases where a couple is not able to agree, a judge will take numerous factors like each spouse's income or earning potential, the length of a marriage and the contributions of each spouse into consideration when making decisions related to the division of property. 

If the ownership of a marital home is in dispute, issues related to child custody may come into play. For example, a judge is likely to award ownership of a marital home to the spouse who is awarded primary physical custody of a shared child. In cases where a divorcing couple does not have children or shares joint physical custody, other factors must be considered and a couple may choose to sell a home or the spouse who does not retain the home may settle for a "larger award of other assets." 

Source:, "Divorce Property Division FAQ," 2014, "The FindLaw Guide to Divorce and Property Divisions," 2013

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