Over the last few years, the majority of states began adopting a no-fault approach to divorce, which means that couples who decide to dissolve their marriages are not required to provide evidence of fault in order to obtain a divorce. Instead, they are able to dissolve their marriages by claiming irreconcilable differences. In late 2016, Illinois joined the majority of states in eliminating fault-based divorce in the state. While this has made the divorce process less hostile and time-consuming, divorcing couples must still face a variety of complex legal issues before their marriages can actually be dissolved. For this reason, divorcing couples are strongly encouraged to consult with an experienced Deer Park divorce attorney before officially filing for divorce in court.
In order for a couple to qualify for divorce, at least one of the spouses must have resided in Illinois for at least three months. Because Illinois is now a no-fault divorce state, couples are not required to provide evidence of another spouse’s wrongdoing in order to obtain a divorce decree. However, couples must still petition the court and state that irreconcilable differences have led to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. There is one exception to this rule, which applies when the divorcing spouses have been living in different places for at least six months. In these cases, courts will automatically assume that irreconcilable differences exist.
Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that upon divorce, a couple’s marital assets must be divided equitably. Generally, marital assets are those that are obtained after a marriage takes place and include real estate, business interests, and wages. However, the property that the parties bring into the marriage is usually considered separate property and so is not subject to the equitable division rule. Instead, each party will remain in sole possession of the items that they owned prior to the marriage. In fact, some types of assets can be labeled as separate property even if they were acquired during the marriage. This includes inheritances and gifts that were granted or given to one spouse alone.
Once assets have been determined to be marital or nonmarital in nature, a court will divide them in a manner that it deems to be fair and equitable, which requires an analysis of a series of factors, including:
- Each party’s contribution to the acquisition, preservation, or dissipation of marital property;
- The length of the marriage;
- Whether any prenuptial agreements are in effect;
- The ages, health, employability, debts, and needs of both parties;
- Whether one party will retain the majority of parenting time and responsibility for child rearing-related decision making;
- The tax consequences of property division upon each party’s economic circumstances;
- Whether one party will be receiving spousal maintenance; and
- Each party’s opportunity for the future acquisition of income and assets.
A court’s decision regarding property division will depend primarily on the evidence submitted by the parties, making it especially important for divorcing parties to speak with an attorney who can ensure that each party’s finances are thoroughly investigated.
Contact Our Deer Park Divorce Legal Team Today
To discuss your own pending divorce with an experienced and compassionate lawyer, please call The Delaney Heckman at 847-705-8000 today.