What does equitable division mean?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2023 | Divorce

Severing personal and financial ties with your spouse requires a divorce to restore you to legal single status. Part of the process is dividing assets and debts in an equitable manner.

What does this mean? Planning for a financial future as a single person means understanding what you may come out of your divorce with long before you get to court.

Equitable versus equal: what is the difference?

An equal share means you and your spouse get exactly the same amount of assets and correlating debt. Everything divides straight down the middle with no consideration of any other circumstances. Some states divide assets in this manner, but Illinois does not.

Instead, a family court judge will take a look at other factors to arrive at an equitable or fair division of your marital assets and debts. While a judge takes many things into consideration, some of the main points include:

  • Does one spouse have more separate property
  • Did someone sacrifice a career to stay home with children
  • Is one spouse better positioned to make money after divorce

A judge may determine that one spouse should receive more marital property than the others to make the divide fair for both.

When separate property becomes marital property

One element of division involves tabulating the total marital property, or those items and assets obtained during the marriage. Separate property remains in the possession of the original owner unless it has become marital property. This means that you or your spouse deposited the asset into your joint account or added the other’s name to the title. Then it is fair game in a divorce split.

While there are many facets of equitable division, having a basic understanding of how a judge may decide can assist in planning.