Divorce Property Divisions in Illinois

An article was recently published by about property division during divorce in the State of Illinois.

When a couple divorces in Illinois, the court will equitably divide “marital property.” However, there are many misconceptions about what this means. You must keep in mind that this does not necessarily mean there will be an equal division of marital property and that “marital property” does not refer to all of the property owned by the couple when they get divorced. So, what exactly is marital property?

Marital property is usually defined as all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, according to the article. This definition can raise many issues. For example, not everything acquired by a spouse during the marriage is considered marital property. An inheritance received by one spouse or income that one spouse received from a non-marital asset are both not considered marital property.

“Presumption” is an important aspect of the issue. It applies to all property acquired during the marriage, even if it is technically non-marital property. This means that the spouse who has received the non-marital property will have to prove that it is so. The spouse will need detailed records showing the source of the property. The will also need to show what happened to their non-marital property during the marriage. The property has the potential to become marital property under certain conditions. These conditions include if the spouse combines non-marital money with marital money, or uses them together to purchase property during the marriage.

In general, non-marital property includes the following:

  • Property acquired before marriage;
  • Property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent;
  • Property received in exchange for property acquired before the marriage or in exchange for property received by gift, legacy, or inheritance;
  • Property acquired after legal separation;
  • Property specifically excluded from marital property by valid agreement of the parties.

If the court determines a property could be classified as non-marital, they must assign that property to that spouse. That property will not be equitably divided between the spouses.

When courts divide marital property, they usually do it on an equal basis. However, courts can use discretion when determining how much/what property each spouse will receive. There are many things a court will consider when determining a fair distribution of property.

Ultimately, property division is determined on a case-by-case basis. If you are going through a divorce and are having your marital property equitably distributed, you should contact an experienced Illinois lawyer to assist you.

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