Shawn McKenna | Chicago Divorce Lawyer | Divorce Lawyer Chicago

Dividing the Spoils: The Insider's Guide to Splitting Assets in an Illinois Divorce!

Navigating the choppy waters of a divorce in Illinois? You’re not just splitting a household; you’re diving into the complex world of asset division. As a seasoned Chicago divorce attorney, Shawn McKenna here, ready to guide you through the labyrinth of splitting assets in the Land of Lincoln. Let’s uncover the secrets and strategies that make this journey as smooth as possible.

The Ground Rules of Asset Division in Illinois

Illinois, unlike some states, doesn’t slice marital assets straight down the middle. Instead, we follow the principles of “equitable distribution.” But don’t let the term fool you; “equitable” doesn’t always mean “equal.” It’s about what’s fair, considering a myriad of factors including each spouse’s contribution to the marital estate, their economic circumstances, and future prospects.

What's Yours, Mine, and Ours

Before you even start divvying things up, it’s crucial to distinguish between marital and non-marital assets. Marital assets are generally everything acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title. Non-marital assets, on the other hand, include what you brought into the marriage or received as a gift or inheritance, kept separate throughout.

The Big Split: Real Estate, Retirement Accounts, and More

Real estate often takes center stage in asset division. Deciding who gets the family home (or if it should be sold) hinges on numerous factors, including custody arrangements and each party’s financial stability. Retirement accounts, too, are subject to division, and might require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to split without incurring penalties.

Debts: The Other Side of the Coin

It’s not just assets getting divided; debts are part of the package, too. From mortgages to credit card debt, Illinois courts aim to allocate financial responsibilities equitably, considering who incurred the debt and why.

A Smart Strategy: Negotiation and Legal Guidance

While the courts can dictate asset division, many couples find success in negotiating terms themselves, with or without mediation. This can lead to more satisfactory outcomes and a quicker resolution. Regardless, having a skilled attorney like myself, Shawn McKenna, by your side is invaluable. Not only can I help you navigate Illinois’ complex legal landscape, but I can also advocate for your interests and ensure a fair division.

The Bottom Line

Divorce is more than an emotional journey; it’s a financial one, too. Understanding how assets are split in Illinois is crucial to ensuring you emerge on solid footing. Whether through negotiation or court proceedings, knowing your rights and obligations is key to a fair settlement.