It’s not unusual for couples to spend hours arguing in Illinois court about who gets what in a divorce. In order to treat everyone fairly and try to keep arguments brief, courts usually use the concept of equitable distribution to divide assets.
Equitable distribution is the idea that all property that was acquired during the marriage should be divided fairly. This usually is applied to splitting most property unless one person can prove that they have more rights to the assets or property than their spouse.
How does equitable distribution work?
Equitable distribution allows both people to get a fair share of what they got in the marriage. For example, if you and your spouse bought a house and you both contributed equally to it, then that house might be sold in order for you and your spouse to each get equal shares of the profits. Equitable distribution can be applied to any piece of property or asset that was acquired jointly during the marriage.
What does equitable distribution take into account?
Equitable distribution means considering what would be in the couples’ best interest or the best interest of the kids. Going back to the house analogy, the court may decide to award the house to the spouse who has primary custody rather than try to split it 50/50.
The court also might decide against splitting everything equally if the divorce proceedings are primarily one person’s fault. While it’s easy to pull up pay stubs to prove that you should be given more, the court will not leave a spouse who doesn’t have a job or other income in the lurch.
If a couple can’t come to a compromise or agreement on their own, then the court can and will make a decision for them. To avoid this, the couple should be willing to compromise and have reasons for what they ask the court.