March 9, 2015

Determining Property Division during Divorce

Division of Property, Equitable Distribution

When going through a divorce, the division of propertycan be one of the most difficult steps for couples. Divvying up a life once shared can be an emotional process, and it can also lead to nasty disputes and arguments.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, nine states in the U.S. have community property laws. Hence, all property is treated as property that can be equally divided between the spouses during divorce. However, Illinois is not among these nine states. Illinois is an Equitable Distribution State.

Defining Non-Marital Property and Marital Property

In Illinois, if a spouse uses his or her private funds (such as an inheritance) to buy a family home, or purchases it prior to the marriage, then only the spouse whose funds were used is entitled to either ownership of the home, or the monetary value of the home’s appreciation during the marriage. This is considered non-marital property.

Non-marital property includes the following:

  • A gift received by a husband or wife from a third party;
  • Any real estate holding acquired before a marriage;
  • A personal injury payout, received for pain and suffering; and
  • An inheritance received by either spouse.

However, if a spouse receives an inheritance, but he or she puts the money into a joint bank account, it then becomes marital property and is no longer able to be returned to a single spouse. One divorce financial analyst warns, “Separate property can lose its separate property status if you commingle it with marital property or vice versa.”

Any additional property acquired during a marriage is considered for equitable distribution in Illinois. But, settlements do not have to be equal. Still, they should be fair. In fact, several factors, such as length of the marriage, a spouse’s earning potential, and the custodial parent’s needs are considered when dividing these assets. An experienced divorce attorney can assist helping one acquire the assets he or she well deserves.

Contact a Knowledgeable Illinois Divorce Attorney

If you are considering divorce and have questions about property division, the most important step is to seek the counsel of a legal professional. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney today.