While some people who get married may be doubtful that the marriage will last, the expectation for nearly all couples who marry is that their marriage will last a lifetime.
However, the reality of marriage in America is that more than 22 percent of first marriages end in divorce within five years, and 53 percent of marriages dissolve by the 20-year mark, according to the latest available data from the government. No matter the length of a marriage, one common issue that often arises during divorce is how to handle the division of marital property.
What Constitutes Marital Property?
The first question to determine when addressing property division is what is considered marital property as defined under Illinois law. The law defines marital property as “all property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage.” Examples of common marital property include physical possessions such as homes, automobiles, and other assets of value. Marital property also includes monetary assets such as retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs, pensions, stocks and bonds, and life insurance benefits.
By this definition of marital property, all property one owns before marriage is non-marital property, and therefore, these assets are not subject to division. Likewise, all property acquired after the marriage ends, including after a legal separation, is considered non-marital property. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. For example, property given as a gift or inheritance to one of the spouses may be considered non-marital property, even when obtained during a marriage.
How Marital Property Is Divided in Illinois
Once the court determines what is and is not marital property, the next issue to address is how the property should be divided. In Illinois, marital property is equitably divided, meaning that the court determines what is a fair and equitable distribution of the property between the spouses.
This means that the combined value of your marital property will largely determine whether the resolution of your marital property division issues will be simple or complex. Even in simple cases that do not involve significant assets or high incomes for either or both spouses, things can get complicated. For example, it may be the case that your spouse has been hiding assets from you, and you may not know this unless you get help from an experienced attorney or financial advisor. On the other hand, your spouse could have racked up debts during your marriage without your knowledge. Such debts are also subject to equitable distribution, and this could complicate what one would assume to be a simple division of the assets owned by a couple.
Contact a Wheaton Marital Property Division Lawyer
Whether you expect to have a simple or complex property division case, the Andrew Cores Family Law Group is here to help ensure you get what you are entitled to under Illinois law. A knowledgeable DuPage County asset division attorney can help you understand the marital property division laws and guide you through the process. We will ensure that you are not saddled with improper liabilities after your marriage and that you do not miss out on getting your fair share of the marital assets. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-871-1002 today.