Dividing Property in your Illinois Divorce- Who Decides What is Fair

Property Division An often hotly contested aspect of many divorce proceedings is the matter of property division. This includes, most notably, any home that you own but also includes cash, bank accounts, retirement accounts, cars and other vehicles, and the stuff in your house. The law does not tell us how to divide property but rather calls for an  “equitable division”, which means that your property should be divided in a way that is fair. The problem is that often times husband and wife may have a different definition of “fair”. A clear and all-encompassing agreement of property upon divorce is critical, but can be difficult to achieve without the help of a skilled family lawyer who will help you to craft a property division settlement that is both fair and respectful.

Distinctions between Marital and Non-Marital Property

An important distinction when it comes to property division in the event of divorce is that between what the law calls marital property and non-marital property. Marital property encompasses all property acquired by a couple or by spouses individually during the course of a marriage; with some exceptions such as an inheritance or certain gifts.

Non-marital property includes any of the property an individual spouse acquired prior to getting married, but was ultimately brought into the union. The lines between the two types of property are not always entirely clear. For instance , some things which were bought or acquired before the marriage may become marital assets at some point along the way. Because there is sometimes confusion as to the applicable classification of certain property, it is important to seek experienced legal counsel to take care of any of your case specifications.

Common Types of Property Subject to Division during Illinois Divorce Proceedings

Among the property classifications most often divided during the pendency of a divorce case are:

  • Bank accounts
  • Vehicles
  • Homes (including time shares or investment properties, as well as the house or condo where you lived)
  • Retirement accounts (including 401k, 403b, pension, and IRA’s)
  • Securities
  • Workers’ compensation payments
  • Personal injury or other lawsuit settlements or awards


Achieving a division of property that is acceptable and fair is often one of the most significant hurdles a divorcing couple can face. Lingering sentimental attachments and fear of financial loss are often so great that compromise appears impossible. Carol Cadiz possesses the compassion, experience, and legal know-how necessary to facilitate agreements that preserve the financial and emotional stability of the parties involved. If you are contemplating a divorce, make sure you have a zealous advocate standing by your side before going any further or signing any settlement papers.

Carol O'Connor Cadiz
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Attorney & Owner at O'Connor Cadiz Law: Bankruptcy, Injury, Real Estate & Mediation