Differentiating Between Marital Property and Separate Property During an Illinois Divorce

marital property, Rolling Meadows divorce attorneysOne of the most contentious issues during many divorces is the division of marital assets. In Illinois, marital property and debt is divided though a method called equitable distribution. Some states simply split the marital estate in half during divorce, but Illinois takes a more fine-tuned approach. Illinois courts will consider many factors when determining how property will be divided during divorce including each spouse’s financial circumstances, employability, health, and more. Before the marital estate can be divided, however, courts must determine what property is marital and subject to division and what property is separate property not subject to division.

Marital Property is Property Acquired During the Marriage

According to equitable distribution laws, only shared property or marital property is divided during a divorce. Separate property is not divided and is instead assigned to the owner of that property. Determining which property is marital and which is separate can become quite complex.

Generally, any funds or assets which either spouse acquired during the course of the marriage is considered marital property. For example, wages that a spouse earned while married, items which were purchased during the marriage, and debt which accumulated while the couple were married are typically considered marital property. However, certain gifts and inheritances do not count as marital property – even if a spouse acquired them during the marriage.

Separate Property is Property Acquired Before the Marriage

Separate property generally includes property or funds which a person already owned at the time of marriage. Separate property also includes purchases made with separate funds, as well as any income generated from separate property. However, if the other spouse’s personal efforts helped generate the income, the other spouse may be entitled to part of this income.

For example, if a husband owns a rental property before getting married, the house is likely separate property. However, if his wife helps with maintaining the property and finding suitable renters, she may be entitled to some of the income that rental property generates. Another way that separate property can be transmuted into marital property is through comingling. If separate funds are used to purchase the family home for example, those funds will likely lose their separate property status and will be considered marital property for the purposes of property division during divorce.

Contact a Schaumburg, Illinois Property Division Attorney

For help with your Illinois divorce, contact a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows divorce lawyer at the Cosley Law Office. Call us at 847-253-3100 today to schedule your free initial consultation.




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