Divorce is the legal ending to a marriage. The dissolution of the marriage allows both spouses to marry other people. Illinois recently changed its divorce laws when it passed the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

For example, there are no longer 13 grounds for divorce in the state. A spouse only needs to list irreconcilable differences as the reason, or grounds, for divorce. Other changes include child custody and visitation and division of property.

What is Marital Property?

Marital property is any money or assets obtained during the marriage. The assets are valued and separated during a divorce.

How Have Marital Property Rules Changed Under the Act?

The revised Act explicitly outlines the division of marital debt too. Divorce court judges are now allowed to make specific factual findings to support awarding property like:

  • Classifying assets as marital property
  • Classifying assets as non-marital property
  • Classifying the value of assets

What is a Court-Appointed Financial Expert?

A court-appointed financial expert is now part of the division of marital property. Instead of spouses hiring their own experts, the court can appoint its own financial expert to advise the court of financial matters. The goal of this change is to eliminate the arguing that typically occurred between financial experts hired by different spouses.

Are There Any Other Changes to Marital Property Debt?

Yes. The Act changes how assets are valued. Judges can now value assets by the Fair Market Value standard. According to this standard, judges can look at the fair market value of the assets either by the:

  • Agreement of both parties
  • Court order

Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer to Help Me with My Divorce?

Yes. It’s important to have a family lawyer represent you so you can understand your rights regarding the divorce.