For couples with young children, arguments about custody tend to be the biggest issue when they divorce. For those who do not have young children in the family home, property division is usually the issue that will be the biggest concern in an Illinois divorce.
Those who have marital agreements on record can expect a straightforward process, but most others will have to negotiate with one another and may end up litigating in family court. When a judge is called upon to settle property division disagreements in Illinois, what can divorcing spouses expect?
The goal is a fair outcome
Spouses essentially agree to share both their resources and their obligations with one another when they marry. They will have to work out a way to divide their possessions and debts in a fair manner if they choose to divorce. The law requires an equitable distribution of marital property. Factors including custody arrangements, health concerns, earning potential and even the length of the marriage can influence what seems fair for a specific couple. A thorough review of the marital circumstances and household finances will be important when trying to determine what would be fair for splitting up their credit card debt and dividing their home equity.
Judges may need to employ creative solutions where they use certain resources to offset the value of other property or even use debt to balance out giving one spouse more assets. Spouses typically give up control over the specific terms and therefore their right to retain certain assets if a judge makes the decisions about the division of their property when they divorce.
Settling puts people in control of the outcome
Quite a few adults dislike the idea of divorce in part because it means surrendering control over their financial circumstances for the immediate future. What seems fair to a judge may not feel fair to either spouse. Those who work together to negotiate a settlement before they go to court can choose for themselves how to share their property and their financial obligations. Sometimes, spouses waste a lot of time and marital resources fighting over the division of property in court with no guarantee of success or a positive outcome. Those who consider carefully and set specific priorities may be in a better position to negotiate with their spouse and achieve financial stability after their divorce.
Learning about the rules that apply in Illinois divorce proceedings and seeking legal guidance can help those who are preparing for divorce avoid common mistakes and unnecessary expenses.