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What Assets Are Considered Part of the Marital Estate During an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Illinois Divorce

Kane County divorce attorneysOne of the most difficult parts of the divorce process is the often division of assets. Married couples usually accumulate a significant amount of property during their marriage. When a couple decides to divorce, differentiating between martial property and non-marital property can become quite complex. Assets that were once considered personal, non-marital property can be transformed into marital property, which is then eligible for division. When property division issues become convoluted, it is best to hire a divorce attorney with experience managing complex property division during divorce.

Illinois Equitable Distribution Law

Illinois law regarding property division in a divorce follows a set of principles known as “equitable distribution.” Under the doctrine of equitable distribution, a couple’s marital estate is to be divided equitably, or fairly, according to each spouse’s needs and financial circumstances. There is no guarantee that each spouse will receive an equal share.

It is important to realize that only marital property is divided in an Illinois divorce. Marital property includes any assets which were acquired by either spouse during the marriage, and non-marital property includes assets which the spouses owned before the marriage as well as certain types of gifts and inheritances. Non-marital property is assigned to the original owner during a divorce. Asset division can become especially confusing when assets are commingled or mixed.

Commingling of Marital and Non-Marital Property

There are many situations in which the identity of an asset as either marital or non-marital can change. In some cases, non-marital property which was not subject to division is transmuted into marital property which is subject to division. For example, if a husband gains a sizable inheritance after his father passes away, the inheritance money would normally be considered non-marital. If the husband does not use the inheritance in a way that changes its identity, the inheritance will not be divided during divorce and the husband will retain the full amount after the divorce. However, if the husband uses the money to purchase a car that both spouses use and maintain, the car could be considered to have been transmuted into a marital asset.

Commingling occurs when a marital asset is mixed with a non-marital asset. For example, if a wife entered into the marriage with a savings account containing $10,000, those funds would not be subject to division during divorce—provided that the money was kept separate from jointly owned funds. However, if she adds her husband’s contributions into the savings account, then uses the account to pay for household expenses or a family vacation, the entire account may be considered marital property for the purposes of divorce.

Contact a St. Charles Property Division Attorney

Identifying, evaluation, and dividing marital property can be complex and confusing. If you are getting divorced and have concerns about asset division, contact an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer from Weiler & Lengle P.C. today. Call 630-382-8050 to schedule your personalized consultation and get the guidance you need.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefflanders/2011/04/12/understanding-how-assets-get-divided-in-divorce/

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