Getting a divorce will cause a ripple of consequences that can reach to every aspect of your life. Your divorce will affect your emotions, where you live and your social connections. Your divorce will also have an impact on your financial circumstances.

Depending on how you and your ex handle the divorce, that impact could prove devastating or overwhelming in some cases. Even if you hope to keep things simple, you will likely wonder how you can ensure a fair outcome when splitting your assets.

Worrying about the financial outcome of a divorce is understandable and common. After all, unless you and your ex signed a thorough prenuptial agreement, you don’t really know what will happen in the divorce. Learning about the asset division process in an Illinois divorce can help you feel more comfortable with what to expect as the process unfolds.

The Illinois courts will try to equitably split your assets

Courts will use the equitable division standard when determining how to divide your possessions between you and your ex. Equitable means fair, which can be more complicated than simply being half of your marital estate.

Typically only marital assets get divided

Not everything you own is subject to division in divorce. For most couples, only the marital assets acquired during their marriage are subject. Items owned prior to marriage are separate property. Gifts from people other than your spouse, and individual inheritances or assets that you acquire through your income during your marriage, are probably marital assets that you must share.

Certain assets that you owned before marriage may also be subject to division. If your spouse helped maintain or improve the value of those assets or if you commingled your separate property with your marital property, you may have to share it with your spouse.

The more complex your assets are, the harder the divorce can become

Simply splitting a bank account and a few credit card debts is a relatively straightforward process for the courts to handle. However, the more assets you and your spouse have, the more complex they likely are.

You may have investments, real estate holdings, houses that you own and retirement accounts. Each of these assets presents its own challenges for the asset division process. Wealthier couples will naturally have more complicated marital estates that require greater attention to detail and planning in divorce.

Sitting down to talk with an experienced Illinois divorce law attorney can help you determine what is reasonable and the best steps to take to protect yourself financially in your upcoming divorce.