Separating from a partner can be an emotionally traumatizing time, and it is made more so by the complexity of the process. For Illinois residents facing divorce, however, it is important to keep a clear head when it comes to the financial implications of the end of a marriage. Here are some things to keep in mind when approaching a divorce settlement.

Getting a solid picture of both spouse’s finances is a good place to start. Often, courts will assess asset division based on what property is considered marital (generally speaking, acquired after the marriage date) and what is not. Typically, assets accrued prior to the marriage default to the individual they belonged to at that time. This is also true of debt, so it is important to keep in mind — if one individual brought credit card debt to the marriage, that individual may be responsible for paying it down.

Updating insurance coverage is also important, not just for spouses, but also for any children who may be covered under one or the other spouse’s plan. All insurance should be considered in this step, including auto and property insurance as well as insurance on any other holdings. Updating will normally override what is written in a will, as well.

Divorce is not always an easy road to travel, but there are ways to smooth the passage. Illinois residents approaching divorce can benefit from planning ahead and coming prepared to the settlement table. Seeking out support to determine what considerations should be dealt with ahead of time can also be beneficial.

Source:, “Financial items to consider during a divorce“, Byron W. Ellis, June 21, 2014