When couples get divorced, property division takes place according to the laws of the state. Some states use community property rules that generally combine all marital assets into one and result in a 50/50 split.
Equitable distribution states, such as Illinois, take more factors into consideration when deciding how to divide the property. This might cause both parties to walk away from the marriage with fair but unequal shares.
What courts consider
Here are some of the many things Bankrate states that courts take into consideration when deciding who should get what and how much of it:
- Cause of the divorce
- Financial needs
- Education levels
- Earning potential
- Spending habits
- Health factors
What courts exclude from marital property
Not all property becomes marital property. Courts might exclude property inherited individually in the marriage, such as a house passed down to the wife from her parents. Similarly, courts might exclude property brought into the marriage, such as the husband’s investments.
Note that sometimes equitable distribution means an even split. Even if only one party worked, the other spouse did contribute to the household, especially if they raised children during that time.
What to do to make division easier
Learning to compromise and maintaining fairness remain the easiest things couples can do to simplify the process. ABC7 News also recommends working with financial advisors, particularly in instances where debts and assets might become extremely complicated. Family businesses, blended families and shared retirement funds are just a few of the things that might complicate the process.
Many people prefer to divorce in equitable distribution states instead of community property states. This is especially true for breadwinners who do not believe stay-at-home partners should receive half of what they earned and built during that time.