Tag Archives: marital property

How Will Our Personal Property Be Divided During Divorce?

divided, Wheaton divorce attorneysIf you have considered ending your marriage or have decided to divorce, you probably have questions about what will happen to all the accumulated property you and your spouse have. If you and your soon-to-be-ex are able to, you may decide how you divide things like residential property, furniture, vehicles, collectables, and bank accounts on your own. However, if you and your spouse are not able to come to an agreement about property division, the courts will be forced to intervene.

Illinois Courts Divide Property Based on What Is Equitable

States differ significantly on how property division is handled during divorce. Some states simply split a couples’ combined estate 50/50 and give half of all property or assets to one spouse and half to the other. Illinois, on the other hand, uses a set of guidelines called “equitable distribution” to divide assets during divorce. This method does not necessarily divide assets equally, but instead takes into consideration many factors to decide what is the most reasonable and fair way to distribute property.

Marital Property Is the Only Property Divided During Divorce

Many people have misconceptions about what is marital property and what is not. Generally, the majority of funds and property a married couple has is marital property. Anything which a spouse bought or earned throughout the course of the marriage is usually considered marital property. For example, income which was earned by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property. Separate property is not divided during divorce and includes funds accumulated before a couple was married (if they have not been commingled or transmuted) and special gifts and inheritances.

Transmutation and Commingling Can Turn Non-Marital Property into Marital Property

Marital property is property accumulated during the marriage, and non-marital property or separate property is property accumulated before the marriage. It seems that differentiating between the two categories should be simple, but property division during a divorce can actually be quite complicated. Most people who get married combine their households and finances. In other words, they mix, or commingle, their assets. Combining funds in a joint bank account is one way that separate and marital property gets confused. Another way separate property becomes marital property is when an account containing separate funds is used to pay combined expenses. For example, a man who comes into a marriage with a sizeable savings account retains that money as non-marital property, but only if it is not used for family expenses. If the man uses the account to buy groceries or pay the mortgage, the entire account might be considered marital property by the court. This transference of funds is called transmutation. Separate property which has been comingled or transmuted becomes marital property and is therefore divided according to equitable distribution guidelines.

We Can Help

If all of this sounds overwhelming, do not worry. The experienced Wheaton divorce attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group are here to help. To schedule a completely confidential consultation at no cost to you, call us at 630-871-1002 today.




Does the Name on the Title of a House or Car Matter During an Illinois Divorce?

marital property, Wheaton divorce lawyersWhen you decide to pursue a divorce, there are many things to consider. You will need to decide on arrangements for your children, whether to ask for spousal support, and which of you will get to keep certain items that you bought together. But, what about assets that are only titled in your name? Do you automatically get to keep those? The answer is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no” and requires a more complete understanding of Illinois’ laws regarding marital and non-marital property.

Equitable Distribution

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the marital property of a couple going through a divorce must be divided in a manner that is fair and just, not necessarily equally. This standard is known as “equitable distribution,” and it is used in 41 states plus the District of Columbia. Before marital property can be divided, however, the couple—or the court—must determine which assets are considered to be marital property.

The IMDMA specifies that any assets or debts acquired during the marriage by either spouse are generally considered to be marital property. There a few, limited exceptions for gifts, inheritances, and judgments awarded to one spouse. Property that was acquired before the marriage is considered non-marital or separate property, as are the proceeds of the sale of any property that would be considered non-marital. Separate or non-marital property remains with the original owner during a divorce.

Titles Are Not Important

Because marital property includes most assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage, the name on the title of a particular asset is largely irrelevant. How the asset was purchased or acquired matters much more than the title does. For example, assume that you financed a new car. You were the primary wage-earner, so the loan was in your name only, as was the title. During your marriage, you were the only one to drive that car, and you made loan payments each month using your regular earnings.

In a divorce, that car would still be considered marital property. From a practical standpoint, your divorce judgment may allow you to keep the car based on how it was used, but the value will need to be accounted for in the division of property. If, on the other hand, you had purchased the car with an inheritance left to you by a relative, you would have a stronger case for it being considered non-marital property.

Contact Us for Help

If you are considering a divorce and have questions about the distribution of marital property in Illinois, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule your free initial consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.




Factors Determining Property Division in Illinois

property division, DuPage County property division attorneysIf you are planning to get divorced, you are probably wondering how you and your spouse’s property will be divided. Since Illinois is an “equitable division” state, marital property is divided equitably, but not necessarily evenly. While some states split marital property 50/50, Illinois courts have the freedom to award more marital property to one spouse than the other if such an arrangement is found to be fair. When the court is dividing marital property and debt, there are specific guidelines they must follow.

How Property Decisions Are Made

Illinois courts look at twelve main factors when making property division decisions in a divorce. The first factor is each party’s contribution. More specifically, the court must consider how each spouse contributed “to the acquisition, preservation, or increase or decrease in value, of the marital or non-marital property.” Each spouse’s income is considered as well the non-monetary contributions the spouses made to the marriage including homemaking and child-rearing. Courts will also consider any dissipation, or wasting or hiding of assets, when making decisions about property division. For example, a spouse who used martial funds to finance an affair during the marriage may receive less of the marital property. The value of the property which is assigned to each spouse is also taken into consideration.

The length of the marriage is a factor courts take into account for two main purposes. Firstly, it operates as a multiplier of the homemaker contribution and rewards spouses who sacrificed work outside the home to raise children or manage the household. For example, a wife who stayed home to raise children during the course of a 20-year marriage will not be very employable when she re-enters the workforce. Courts may award her more marital property in order to help her transition to single life. The second reason the duration of the marriage is a factor in property division is to prevent “gold-diggers” from marrying wealthy individuals for the sole purpose of acquiring some of their wealth in a divorce. The courts also look at prior marriages that a spouse has had and any support or maintenance which they receive or have been ordered to pay.

Courts also consider any children of the marriage when deciding which spouse gets what in a divorce. When possible, courts try to keep children in the marital residence so that they do not have to move away from their school and friends. So, the custodial parent, meaning the one with more parenting time, will often be awarded the family home. This is not always the case, however. If the couple had created a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, this will also be very influential in the court’s final decisions.

Consult a Family Law Attorney for Help

If you are planning to divorce and have further questions about property division, spousal maintenance, child support, or other family law matters, the experienced Wheaton divorce attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group are ready to help. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation by calling 630-871-1002 today.