Every day at the Law Office of Nicholas Baker, we encounter several questions that come up on a recurring basis. One such question or belief in divorce law is that, “if my husband/wife cheated, that means I get more of the property or money from our marriage, right?” While generally, this is not true, there are some specific exceptions to this rule.
Basically, Illinois has decided that property and debt issues should be handled and settled between the parties by incorporating all these issues into a Marital Settlement Agreement that both parties, eventually, will have to sign or be ordered to by the court. Marital Settlement Agreements (commonly referred to as “MSA’s) lay out the basic principles governing the distribution of assets and debts, among other things, from the end result of the divorce. This may include houses, cars, bank accounts, stocks, pensions, 401k’s, credit card debt, personal loans or any other asset or liability acquired by either party to the divorce. This is not a simple cut and dry formula–but our office will guide you every step of the way to make sure no asset or liability is missed, hidden or forgotten.
Illinois does not follow the belief that “wrongdoing” on the part of one party entitles the other to a bigger portion of the marital estate than they otherwise would deserve. Illinois divorce law states that property and debt should be “equitably distributed” to the parties—in many instances, this means a 50/50 split. Note that “equitable” does not necessarily mean evenly split in all instances—it means whatever the Court determines to be fair.
Our office fights to make sure you get what you deserve
The relevant statute, found at 750 ILCS 5/503 specifically states that all property deemed to be marital property will be equitably distributed while taking into account the following factors:
(1) the contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, or increase or decrease in value of the marital or non-marital property, including (i) any such decrease attributable to a payment deemed to have been an advance from the parties’ marital estate under subsection (c-1)(2) of Section 501 and (ii) the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or to the family unit;
(2) the dissipation by each party of the marital or non‑marital property;
(3) the value of the property assigned to each spouse;
(4) the duration of the marriage;
(5) the relevant economic circumstances of each spouse when the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to live therein for reasonable periods, to the spouse having custody of the children;
(6) any obligations and rights arising from a prior marriage of either party;
(7) any antenuptial agreement of the parties;
(8) the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties;
(9) the custodial provisions for any children;
(10) whether the apportionment is in lieu of or in addition to maintenance;
(11) the reasonable opportunity of each spouse for future acquisition of capital assets and income; and
(12) the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties.
Whether divvying up debts or dividing assets, the Law Office of Nicholas Baker will fight for your rights to a fair share. Getting what you deserve is what we fight for and contacting our office right now is your first step to getting a fair shake in court. Fill out the form on this page right now, or give us a call—we’re around in the evenings and even on weekends to discuss your case.
Click here for the full text of 750 ILCS 5/503, and to learn more about the statute on property distribution in Illinois divorces!