Division of Property
Illinois works as an equitable division state for divorce proceedings. That means that all assets earned during marriage are defined as "marital assets" and all debts incurred during marriage are defined as "marital debts." To illustrate this fact, consider the title of "marital estate" used in these definitions as a basket. Each spouse is entitled to put items into the basket and take items out of the basket. An example of an item going into the basket would be income. Other items may go in based upon how they were treated. For example, inheritance money doesn't normally go into the basket, but any money used to fix up a home is absorbed into the property value that goes into the basket.
During the divorce process, the challenge is determining what belongs in the basket and how to ultimately divide up its contents. Matters get further complicated when items such as pensions and 401ks go into the basket due to IRS penalties activated upon account cash-outs.
One category that does not go into the basket is non-marital property, which is defined as property (or the property's value on the day the couple married) owned solely by one spouse. For example, if the wife owned a house prior to marriage, the value of that house up to the date of marriage is considered non-marital separate property. Inheritances and gifts are often viewed as non-marital property.
Like everything involved with the divorce process, there are exceptions to these rules and assets owned prior to marriage or acquired after marriage may fall under a grey area. Some non-marital assets can be converted to marital assets by the actions of the parties during the marriage.
The Law Offices of Michael F. Roe can help you through this difficult time. We are committed to helping our clients with the financial aspects of their case and ensure a fair and equitable resolution to the property issues. If you have any questions, please contact our office for help in understanding how Illinois's laws pertain to your property. Call us at (630) 232-2400 or contact us online.