Four Types of Unusual Property in Divorce

 Posted on June 24, 2024 in Division of Assets

IL divorce lawyerEverybody knows that marital property needs to be divided in a divorce. When it comes to the marital home, savings accounts, and even the value of the family car, marital property is usually quite straightforward. However, life is complicated, and marital assets can be complicated as well. Here are four types of assets that, though unusual, still need to be handled in a divorce. If you are thinking about divorce, call our Illinois divorce attorney to learn more about your options and what you should do first.

Frozen Embryos

More married couples than ever jointly hold fertilized, frozen embryos. While embryos involve considerable time and effort to obtain and, therefore, are typically precious in the eyes of at least one spouse, they can present serious difficulties in a divorce, especially if a wife wants to use them to try to have children after the divorce is finalized. Usually, the way frozen embryos are handled in a divorce will be decided based on the contract the couple signed with the IVF facility holding the embryos. However, this is still an emerging field of law, so if you do not have a contract that clearly designates how embryos will be handled, you may need to expect the unexpected.


Few people believe that a pet is merely property, akin to a fine leather sofa or a family car. Nevertheless, in the eyes of Illinois law, that is exactly what pets are. Some pet parents agree to some kind of pet custody agreement in their divorce order, but that can be difficult for couples who do not have an amicable relationship. If a couple cannot agree on which spouse will take a pet after divorce, courts will try to decide what would be in a pet’s best interests.


Memorabilia can be tricky to divide in a divorce for several reasons. First, the value of memorabilia is somewhat subjective and often requires the help of a professional to assess. Second, one spouse may own memorabilia of significant value but may only be interested in the memorabilia for sentimental reasons. Viewing the memorabilia as an asset can be a difficult mindset to get into for the spouse who cherishes the items. Even if only one spouse has spent years collecting things such as autographs, baseball cards, and coins, these will almost certainly be seen as marital property, and the value of the items - if not the items themselves - will need to be divided.  

Family Heirlooms & Inheritances 

Usually, money or items that either spouse inherits during a marriage will belong to the spouse who inherited it after a divorce. But the issue of inheritance or family heirlooms is not always so clear. Consider the following situations: 

  • What happens when spouses have been married for so long that family heirlooms were simply left to both spouses? 
  • What if a spouse had a special relationship with the family member who passed away, even if they were not technically related to each other? 
  • What if it is not clear to which spouse the heirloom was gifted? 
  • What if a spouse received money in an inheritance, put it into a joint bank account, and then used most of it for the benefit of the whole family? 

These questions and more can cloud the decision about what to do with inheritances and heirlooms. Rather than trying to guess what would be best in your situation, talk with an experienced divorce attorney.

Considering Divorce? Meet with a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer for a Free Consultation

Before you make any decisions about how you might divide property with your spouse, meet with a DuPage County, IL divorce attorney with Andrew Cores Family Law Group. We have the experience you need, both to divide marital assets and to do so as peacefully as possible. To learn more about your options, contact us at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.

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