The Law Offices of Van A. Schwab
Skokie and Libertyville

The basics of equitable distribution

Any Illinois resident who is going through a divorce may benefit from an understanding of how assets are divided. The legal aspects of a divorce settlement can be confusing, especially in a contentious divorce or one involving significant assets, but some basic information can help simplify these matters.

"Separate property" is defined as any property owned by a spouse before the marriage, gifts from a third party, the pain and suffering portion of a settlement received during the marriage or any inheritance received by a spouse. Separate property belongs to the spouse who acquired it and is generally not divided during a divorce unless it is commingled with marital assets or gifted to the other spouse. All other property is considered marital property regardless of who paid for it, who uses the property or whose name is on the title. This distinction is especially important with assets such as retirement accounts, which are titled only in the name of the worker yet are still distributed equally between spouses during a divorce proceeding.

Equitable distribution does not mean that each spouse automatically gets 50 percent of each asset. The judge has discretion to make a property division that is believed to be fair, based on consideration of a number of relevant factors. Typically, a judge will consider factors such as the duration of the marriage, the assets that each spouse brought into the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, each spouse's earning potential and the needs of any minor children. The judge may also consider the marital standard of living.

A divorce attorney may be able to help persons contemplating divorce value marital assets and determine what may be considered separate property. The attorney may also be able to help spouses negotiate a settlement out of court via mediation to make the process easier.

Source: Huff Post Divorce, "Understanding How Assets Get Divided In Divorce", Jeff Landers , June 14, 2013

Talk To A Knowledgeable Lawyer Today

If you need an experienced and honest family law attorney, contact us by calling 312-702-1745 (in Chicago) or 847-208-4569 (in Skokie and Libertyville).

We offer flexible appointment hours and a consultation fee of $125 to be applied toward the retainer. We accept payment by cash, check or money order.

Email Us For A Response

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Chicago Office
134 N. LaSalle St., Suite 1820
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 312-702-1745
Fax: 312-372-4010
Chicago Law Office Map

Skokie Office
10024 Skokie Blvd, Suite 245
Skokie, IL 60077

Phone: 312-702-1745
Phone: 847-208-4569
Fax: 312-372-4010
Skokie Law Office Map

Libertyville Office
1641 North Milwaukee Avenue, Building 12
Libertyville, IL 60048

Phone: 312-702-1745
Phone: 847-208-4569
Fax: 312-372-4010
Libertyville Law Office Map

office1 office2 office3