Illinois, like any other state, has its own set of factors that contribute to how a court will decide assets should be divided when a couple divorces. As an "equitable division" state, the court follows certain guidelines for dividing assets when a couple is unable to reach an acceptable asset division arrangement. It is important to note that "equitable" does not necessarily mean that the division will be equal -- it means that the court will consider various factors and determine what it believes is fair.
The court will consider the contribution of each partner to the home and to the acquisition and keeping of assets within the home, as well as each party's role in diminishing property owned within the marriage (or outside of it). The court will also consider the value of property being assigned to each spouse, and the economic standing of each spouse when the asset division would take effect. This includes weighing which spouse should keep a marital home, especially if that spouse is to have primary custody of the marriage's children.
The courts will also consider the length of time the marriage lasted, as well as the age and health of the spouses, and any other factors that may affect income and expenses. The court will also give consideration to the ability of each spouse to gain income or assets in the future.
In addition, the courts will take into account whether or not either party has standing obligation from any previous marriage, and will likely seek to honor any prenuptial agreement that the couple has established. If there are any children in the marriage, the expenses related to the responsible keeping of the children will be taken into consideration.
Clearly, there are many things that a court may use to determine what it deems "fair" when deciding how a couple should divide its assets. This can be a complex process, with many opportunities for things to become unnecessarily costly. The guidance of an experienced lawyer can ensure that your divorce is accomplished fairly, while helping you to avoid setbacks and pitfalls on the way to starting your new life.
Source: Divorce Support, "Illinois Property Division Factors," accessed Sep. 09, 2016