In Illinois, division of property is without regard to fault. This means that the court will not consider your spouse’s deficiencies (or yours) when deciding how the marital assets and debts are divided. Even if your spouse was physically or emotionally abusive, an absentee parent or unfaithful, the court cannot consider such matters when deciding the issue of division of property.

When dividing property the court first determines which property is “marital” and which property is “non-marital”. Marital property consists of any property acquired during the marriage, including pensions, 401(k) accounts or other retirement accounts. However, property acquired by gift or inheritance (and various other means) is not considered marital property.

Each spouse keeps their own non-marital property. Marital property is divided on an equitable basis. “Equitable” does not mean 50/50, although 50/50 is generally considered the starting point for any analysis of division of marital property. Factors the court considers when dividing marital property include: the length of the marriage, the education of each spouse, the ability of each spouse to acquire property in the future through earnings or other means and the non-marital property of each spouse.