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Asset Division in a Contested Divorce: How Can I Protect My Rights?

A contested divorce is one where spouses are unable to reach an agreement on one or more issues relevant to their separation. Unsurprisingly, asset division is one of the common issues leading to serious conflict in a divorce. It is not always easy to decide who gets what — especially if a divorcing couple already has trouble working together. Here, our Naperville and Bolingbrook asset division lawyers provide an overview of Illinois law and offer three tips to help you protect your property rights in a contested divorce case.

Know the Standard: Equitable Distribution in Illinois

Under Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/503), marital assets are divided in an equitable manner — this means each spouse is entitled to a ‘fair’ share of the joint property. A fair share may be, but is not always, a 50-50 split. Notably, in contrast, non-marital property (separate property) is not subject to distribution and will remain the property of one spouse.

The equitable distribution standard applies to both contested divorce cases and uncontested divorce cases. If the parties can reach their own agreement on property division, courts will generally ratify that agreement. However, if no settlement can be reached, an Illinois court will divide the marital assets in a manner deemed equitable.

Three Tips to Help You Handle Asset Division in a Contested Divorce Case

In a contested divorce, it is important to take a proactive approach. You do not want to fall behind in the process — potentially losing out on the share of marital assets that are rightfully yours. Here are three tips to help you protect your property rights:

  • Know What Matters: Start by clarifying your objectives. Are there certain assets or certain items that really matter to you? If so, you need to devise a plan to ensure you can keep that property. Likewise, if there are certain issues you are willing to compromise on, it is useful to also keep that in mind as well. Ultimately, some give and take will be required.
  • Organization is Crucial: Lack of organization causes major problems in many contested divorce cases. You need to know exactly what you own and the value of the property. Once you get organized, you will be able to track down any hidden or concealed property your spouse may not have disclosed.
  • Do Not Give Up Settlement: Not all contested divorce cases go all the way through the litigation process. Many contested divorces are eventually settled outside of court. Some cases are even settled right before a trial. Do not give up on settlement — it may still be the best option.

Our Illinois property division lawyers have represented many clients in contested divorce cases. We are ready to review your situation, explain your rights, build a strong case, and take the appropriate legal action to help you preserve your separate property and get your fair share of the marital property. 

Call Our Naperville and Bolingbrook Contested Divorce Lawyers For Immediate Help

At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois divorce attorneys are skilled, experienced advocates for clients. If you have questions about asset division in a contested divorce, we are here to help. To arrange a completely private, no cost consultation with an experienced family lawyer, please contact us today. We represent clients in Naperville, Bolingbrook and throughout the surrounding region.