Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel P.C.

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Is Marital Misconduct a Factor in the Division of Marital Property?

Posted on in Divorce

Elgin divorce attorney division of marital propertyDivorce can often come as a terrible shock, especially if you believe that the breakdown of your relationship was not your fault. In many cases, divorcing spouses may believe that they are entitled to a greater share of property if their former partner had caused the marriage to fail. However, couples in Illinois should be aware of how the law deals with the division of marital property during the dissolution of a marriage. 

In Illinois, affairs, adultery, lies, physical or emotional abuse, and being a bad parent – which are all types of marital misconduct – are not considered during the division of marital assets and debts. As unfair as this stipulation may seem (especially if you are the victim of this type of misconduct), it is the law in Illinois. Importantly, however, you are entitled to a fair and equitable division of marital property. 

Marital Property is Subject to a Fair and Equitable Division During Divorce in Illinois

So, you may understandably inquire with no small degree of urgency, what is considered in an Illinois divorce if marital misconduct is not? The answer: a multi-factor criteria, applied proportionately on a case-by-case basis. 

First, there is the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, maintenance, increase, or decrease in the value of the marital or non-marital property. In other words, what did you bring to the table? It is a very American approach to division, implying work ethic in its language. Of course, in real life – beyond the abstractions of statutes – this question is highly complex. 

Besides raw income, one spouse may have solely supported another during a period of educational progress (e.g. medical school). Along these same lines, one spouse may have set aside or delayed educational or vocational aspirations to focus on parenting responsibilities. Fortunately, other factors which are considered during property division are more straightforward, such as the duration of the marriage, and the age, health, and amount and sources of each party’s income.

Illinois Recognizes Valid Prenuptial Agreements

In addition to recognizing marital property and non-marital property in applying its principle of equitable distribution of property during divorce, Illinois recognizes valid prenuptial agreements made between spouses. Thus, if you have entered into a reasonable and valid agreement with your spouse, it will govern the distribution of assets and liabilities rather than state law. 

If you need help resolving issues of property division during your divorce, the attorneys of Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel P.C. can make sure the law is applied correctly and advocate for your interests in court. For legal help with divorce issues or creating, defending, or disputing a premarital agreement, contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney at 847-695-2400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Kane County Bar Association DeKalb Bar Association
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