Understanding Separate and Marital Assets

 Posted on February 15, 2024 in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerWhen you get divorced, your separate assets are yours to keep. Your spouse has no claim to them and cannot take them from you during the division of marital assets. Likewise, any separate assets your spouse owns cannot be awarded to you. Understanding the difference between separate and marital assets can be difficult. The longer you have been married, the more likely it is that you have donated some of your separate assets to the marriage, converting them into marital assets. If you have only been married for a short amount of time, it is likely that you still own some separate assets. A Wheaton, IL, divorce attorney can help you go through the assets you own and determine which are marital assets and which are separate assets.

Types of Separate Assets Married People May Own

Illinois law sets out a few types of assets that are normally considered the separate, nonmarital property of one spouse. Your separate assets may include:

  • Premarital property - Assets you owned before you got married might still be considered your separate property. For example, if your car was titled in your name only before the wedding, it is likely yours to keep in the divorce. However, if you sold your vehicle a few years after getting married and bought a new one using marital finances, the car is probably marital property. 
  • Inheritance - Your deceased loved one almost certainly meant to leave an inheritance for you, not your spouse. The law recognizes this. 
  • Personal injury winnings - If you won a settlement or award based on a personal injury lawsuit, that funding is meant to compensate you for your injuries. Your spouse cannot claim those funds. 
  • Gifts - When you are given a gift, it is yours. Unless the gift was given to both of you, such as a wedding or housewarming present, it likely still belongs to only you. 

Donating Separate Property to the Marriage

Things can get complicated when you contribute your separate property to your marriage. For example, say you used your inheritance to pay for improvements to the marital home. Your spouse will probably argue that you chose to contribute those funds to the marriage, making those improvements to marital property. Your attorney can help you determine whether any of your formerly separate assets have become marital assets over the years.

Contact a DuPage County, IL, Divorce Attorney

Andrew Cores Family Law Group is skilled in helping married people identify and retain their separate assets. Our experienced Wheaton, IL, divorce lawyers will work to ensure that your separate property stays under your exclusive control. Contact us at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.

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