Equitable Distribution Of Marital Assets

Once you and your spouse decided to divorce, you likely felt overwhelmed by all of the practical tasks that need to be accomplished to turn a single household into two households. This reality is made all the more overwhelming by the fact that divorce is an emotional process and can be extremely draining. This is one of the many reasons why you should strongly consider working with an experienced divorce attorney instead of attempting to DIY your divorce.

DIY divorce has become more popular with the launch of several online divorce filing platforms. Unfortunately, navigating the truly consequential process of divorcing a spouse without the guidance of a skilled local attorney has too often cost divorcing spouses dearly. For example, many individuals have discovered too late that the asset division terms they’ve agreed to – and which are now legally-enforceable – aren’t equitable at all. Experienced lawyers understand how to get their clients the fairly-valued divorce terms to which they are entitled.

Illinois Asset Division Laws

As an experienced divorce lawyer – including those who practice at Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC, – can explain in ways that apply uniquely to your case, Illinois law honors an “equitable distribution of assets” theory. This theory helps to ensure that the outcome of asset distribution orders is fair. By contrast, many other states insist that the value of a couple’s marital estate must be divided via a 50-50 split.

At a glance, a 50-50 split of marital assets may seem like the fairest way to divide jointly-owned property. If you and your spouse agree to a 50-50 division of the value of your marital estate, you’re certainly within your rights to work with a lawyer to formalize that arrangement. However, it is worth contemplating that a straight 50-50 split may be an “equal” division of assets but not an “equitable” one.

Equitable means fair. Equal means the same. It is entirely possible that, due to the circumstances of your marriage, taking the same share of your jointly-owned property is not a fair division of your assets. For example, you may have paid for an asset acquired during your marriage with money inherited you’re your hard-working parents. As a result, splitting the value of this asset 50-50 may not be fair because inheritance money is generally treated as a separate asset. Simply because you made a purchase with your inheritance shouldn’t mean that your spouse is automatically entitled to half of its value.

Life is complex. Finances are complex. Illinois law allows for flexibility in determining what may and may not be equitable in an asset division context because not every couple’s situation is the same. By forcing couples to divide the value of their marital estates 50-50 without exception, there is no “wiggle room” left that allows for nuance, circumstance, or even consideration of certain kinds of misconduct.

DIY divorce platforms aren’t generally set up to consider nuance or circumstance either. By working with a skilled divorce lawyer, you’ll better position yourself to receive the truly equitable divorce settlement to which you are entitled.