October 27, 2014

Property Division after Divorce: A Brief Guide

Division of Property, Illinois family law attorney

Difficult emotions, stress, and heated arguments are not the only hurdles divorcing couples face. One of the more tricky aspects of divorce is the division of property. Several gray areas exist and can lead to conflict between separating spouses, especially when an attorney is not present to review ownership and legal stipulations.

Although property division is a complex area of family law, there are standard rules and procedures involved in the process. According to Forbes, property usually falls under one of two categories: marital property or separate property. While there are areas in which the two can overlap, the general rule is that separate property remains in possession of the owning spouse.

Separate property includes assets such as inheritance, gifts, and funds received as a result of personal-injury cases. Many couples believe that engagement gifts, such as rings, silverware, or furniture are marital property. However, because the exchange took place prior to the marriage, these possessions are considered separate property.

It is common to see what started out as separate property fall under the category of marital property. This is often the case when spouses add each other’s names on titles, deeds and bank accounts. Since state and district laws can affect ownership, it is often helpful to speak with a local attorney who can review the case and distinguish marital property from separate property.

It is safe to say that almost all possessions acquired during the marriage will be considered marital property. This includes bank accounts, 401Ks, stocks, pension plans and more. It does not matter whose name is on the paperwork. If it was attained during the marriage, it is probably marital property.

Property division can take place in or out of court. While more compliant couples may be able to divide their assets outside of court, a family lawyer can act as a mediator in contested divorces.

If you are planning to divorce and have questions regarding property division after divorce, consider consulting with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. At Mulyk Laho Law, LLC we can address your questions and concerns regarding property division. To get started, call us today at 630-852-1100.