Most states, including Illinois, are considered equitable distribution states. If you are getting divorced, you have probably heard this term. It refers to how your assets will be divided between you and your spouse when the divorce is finalized. The Huffington Post explains that equitable distribution is based on the idea of the court fairly dividing up property.
It is important to note that you may not even need to have the court decide how to distribute your property because most couples are able to negotiate a settlement without a judge getting involved. So, if you negotiate terms, you will not likely have to be concerned with equitable property laws and procedures.
In case you are not able to reach an agreement and the court must do it for you, the court will look at various factors to ensure assets are divided in a way that is fair to both of you. These factors might include looking at earnings, who will be the primary care giver for any children, where you both currently live and the duration of the marriage. For example, if you are living in the family home and your children will be living with you, the court is most likely to award you the home.
Do be aware that this concept of law puts a lot of power on the judge. There are not really any hard rules as to how the judge must distribute property as long as it can be justified as being fair. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.