When getting a divorce in Illinois, many people worry about losing half of all they worked so hard to build to their ex. While some give and take may be necessary, Illinois divorces are not always a 50/50 split. This is because Illinois, like most U.S. states, is an equitable distribution state.

Business Insider explains that when people divorce in a community property state, debts and assets get split right down the middle. In a state that relies on equitable distribution, a judge may decide what they believe is fair to both parties. There are several things a judge may take into consideration. Here are a few:

  • Financial needs
  • Personal assets
  • Earning potential
  • Actual income

Regardless of whether a person lives in a community property or equitable distribution state, they may decide their own property division rules. To do this, a couple may create a prenuptial agreement. It may be possible to create one even after marriage. This is known as a postnuptial agreement.

Forbes notes that couples may begin the division process by taking inventory of what both parties bring to the table in terms of assets and debts. Some documents couples may need to source during this step include property deeds, tax returns, credit card statements, insurance policies and investment account sheets.

Couples then need to figure out what counts as separate and marital property. This again depends on whether they divorce in an equitable distribution or community property state. Generally speaking, however, what individuals bring into the marriage belong to the individuals. Assets and debts incurred during the marriage may be considered marital property, but this is the gray area that may require professional advice.