Divorce is never fun and often the couple who is separating feels like they are losing a lot, but… who gets to keep the flat screen? The cars? The home? Illinois law defines marital property as all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage and is subject to equitable division upon dissolution of marriage. Even if the property is in the name of only one spouse, it does not make a difference. What matters is whether the property was acquired during the marriage, if it was, and then both parties share a common ownership interest in the property.
There are some exceptions to the general rule regarding marital property. The exceptions are:
Property that was acquired by one spouse before marriage
Property that was acquired by one spouse through gift or inheritance
Property that was acquired by one spouse in exchange for property acquired before the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, legacy or descent
Property that was acquired by a spouse after a judgment of legal separation
Property excluded by valid agreement of the parties (i.e. excluded in a premarital agreement or similar contract)
Any judgment or property obtained by judgment awarded to the spouse from the other spouse.
The increase in value of property acquired by a method listed above, regardless of whether the increase results from a contribution of marital property, non-marital property, the personal effort of a spouse, or otherwise, subject to the right of reimbursement and income from property acquired by a method listed in above if the income is not attributable to the personal effort of the spouse.
In addition to the exceptions, parties are always free to contract as to what should happen to the assets they acquire over the course of their marriage, in the event that a divorce is contemplated. This type of agreement is known as a prenuptial agreement and has many benefits if utilized correctly. At least that way you would know who gets to keep the flat screen!
If you are looking to initiate divorce proceedings, or a divorce proceeding has been initiated against you by your spouse, contact IllinoisAttorney.com so we can assist you in making sure that you receive all assets that you are entitled to, as well as assisting in making a difficult process go smoothly and as efficiently as possible.