Tag Archives: marital property

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.




Yours, Mine, or Ours? Identifying Marital Property in Divorce

marital property, Illinois asset division attorneysWhen two people get married, they often choose to combine all of their financial interests. They may have joint checking and savings accounts, put both names on loan documents and titles, and generally consult with one another about major purchases. Other couples may elect to keep things more separate. These couples may have joint accounts to be used for household bills and other expenses, but they may also have investments or property held in their own names. Whichever option a couple chooses, a divorce may leave more property subject to division than many people realize.

What the Law Says

If a divorcing couple is able to reach a reasonable agreement regarding the division of property, the court will approve the agreement without much a problem in most cases. If the couple cannot agree, however, Illinois law says that a court has the authority to divide the couple’s marital property in a manner that is equitable and just—not necessarily equally. Only marital property is subject to division in a divorce, and determining what constitutes marital property is the first step of the property division process.

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, marital property includes all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage with a few important exceptions. Gifts or inheritances received by one spouse are considered to be non-marital, as are the proceeds realized by the sale of property owned prior to the marriage. Non-marital property may be considered in analyzing a party’s financial situation, but it is not subject to division.

What It Means

The law does not make reference to whose name is on a real estate deed or vehicle title, nor does it address which spouse paid for which items. If either spouse obtained the asset during the marriage, the asset is almost certainly considered to be marital property. This applies to tangible items such as cars, real property, and furniture, as well as to financial assets including earnings, savings, and investments.

Certain assets may consist of both marital and non-marital portions, and only the value of the marital portion is subject to division. Assume, for example, that you took out a mortgage to purchase a home and made payments for 15 years before you got married. Your spouse moved into your home, and you continued to make payments using your normal income for the next 15 years, successfully paying off the home at the 30-year mark.

If you were to get divorced after the home was paid off, the portion of equity paid into the home during the first half of your mortgage is likely to be considered non-marital property. The equity built during the second half while you were married would likely be marital property. Calculating the exact value of each portion may require the assistance of a real estate appraiser or financial professional, but only the marital portion must be accounted for during the divorce.

We Can Help

Identifying marital property is not always as easy as it seems, but our team is equipped to help you. Contact an experienced DuPage County property division attorney to discuss your situation today. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.