September 4, 2015

How Illinois Courts Handle Property Division during a Divorce

Division of Property

On your wedding day, it is hard to imagine the bells will one day stop ringing. However, people can change, and so can your relationship. Sadly, nearly half of all U.S. marriages end in divorce.

You are now faced with a mountain of challenges – from battling over child custody to learning how to navigate your way through life alone. Although all divorce cases are unique, most spouses share one question: What happens to the assets you collected as a couple?

You and your soon-to-be ex will have to decide how to split the house, the television, and even the pet canary – or the courts will decide for you. Property division is often a sticking point in these proceedings because each partner is attached to their possessions – and they may feel entitled to maintain ownership.

The Two Types of Property

According to Illinois Law, the first step in dividing property is figuring out which property is separate and which is marital. Marital property includes assets that a coupled acquired during their marriage.

Property is only considered separate if a partner owned it before entering into the marriage or earned it during the marriage via a gift or inheritance. Separate property may also include assets purchased using money generated by other separate property. For example, you may have inherited a home from your grandparents and sold it to buy a car, or to start a college fund for your children. Those assets still belong to you.

Dividing It Up

Once you have determined which property is martial and which is separate, you or the courts will assign a monetary value to each asset. Spouses can divide their assets by assigning certain items to each partner. You may also sell property and split the proceeds.

There are rare cases when couples will agree to continue owning a property together. This is usually to benefit the children, who can live at home until they leave for college. However, this strategy can also be used to hang onto a potentially lucrative investment, delaying the sale until the market is in better shape.

If you are planning to file for divorce, call an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney today to find out how our lawyers can help you with the proceedings. Our team of attorneys can explain how Illinois laws relate to your case, and we can protect your interests. Call 630-852-1100 to schedule a free consultation.