Creating an agreement that divides property equitably in a divorce can be challenging. Illinois law divides marital property but not separate property.
It can be complex to determine which assets are individual and which you share with your spouse. In some cases, a judge must decide how to distribute property.
What is marital property?
The state of Illinois views any property obtained during the marriage using marital funds as shared property. Real estate, vehicles, furniture, retirement plans, and insurance policies are typically marital property. Spouses share these assets equally regardless of who purchased them.
What is separate property?
Some assets qualify as separate property in Illinois and are not subject to equitable division in a divorce:
- Property acquired before the marriage
- Assets obtained through an inheritance or a gift
- Holdings purchased with income from separate property
- Real estate, investments or other assets gained after you began the dissolution of the marriage
- Assets excluded from equitable division in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
What is the commingling of assets?
During your marriage, you may have combined your assets. Sometimes couples do this intentionally. However, you may have done so accidentally. For example, a bank account you had before getting married is separate property unless your spouse makes deposits to it. If this occurs, the account becomes marital property. If you use income from your individual property to pay shared bills, that asset becomes part of the marital estate. If you cannot agree with your spouse which assets are separate, a judge may decide for you.
You can take steps to retain your separate property during your divorce. It is essential to take action as soon as possible and have a thorough knowledge of Illinois family law.