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Wheaton, IL Property Division Lawyer

Winfield non-marital property in divorce lawyer

Attorney for Identifying Marital and Non-Marital Property in DuPage County

If you are getting a divorce, it is understandable that you would prioritize retaining possession of properties and assets that are important to you for both financial and sentimental reasons. You may have to make some difficult compromises when it comes to dividing marital property, but you should be aware that some assets may belong to you alone, rather than to the marital estate. Assets that you can clearly identify as non-marital property are likely to stay with you once your marriage has ended.

Distinguishing between marital and non-marital property is not always easy, and in order to give yourself the best chance of protecting your property rights during the divorce process, you should work with an experienced lawyer. Attorney Jessica Sendek has practiced family law exclusively for over 10 years, and she will dedicate her energy and attention to help you reach a fair resolution and keep all property to which you are entitled.

How Does Illinois Define Marital and Non-Marital Property?

Under Illinois law, most assets and debts acquired during the marriage by either partner are considered marital property, and these are the properties that must be divided as part of your divorce resolution. You are entitled to an equitable portion of the marital property, but in order to reach an agreement regarding the assets and debts that will be granted to each spouse, you will likely need to go through a process of negotiation or litigation.

Before you begin the divorce process, you should determine whether any of your assets or liabilities are considered non-marital. Typically, this means gathering documents that show the date of acquisition of the property and how it was acquired. In Illinois, non-marital property includes:

  • Assets that you acquired before the marriage began
  • Assets that you acquired through a gift or inheritance in your individual name
  • Assets that you and your spouse designated as non-marital in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
  • Assets that you acquired after you and your spouse were legally separated
  • Assets that you acquired from your spouse through a civil judgment
  • Assets that you acquired in exchange for other non-marital assets
  • Assets resulting from the income or increase in value of non-marital assets

While the court may consider the value of each spouse's non-marital property when making other important decisions in the allocation of the marital estate and any award of spousal support, the non-marital property itself is typically excluded from the process of property division.

Co-Ownership and Commingling Complications

In some cases, it can be difficult to distinguish between marital and non-marital property. For example, a property like a home or a vehicle that was owned by one person before the marriage may have been transferred into co-ownership with the person's spouse during the marriage, thereby losing its non-marital status. Other assets, like some retirement accounts, may include both marital and non-marital assets if contributions were made both before and during the marriage.

Another complicated issue is known as commingling, which occurs when assets from non-marital and marital estates are combined, either when one estate contributes to the other or when both contribute to a new acquisition. In these cases, whether or not an asset maintains its non-marital status depends on whether it keeps or loses its identity in the process. Additionally, when one spouse has contributed to the marital estate through their own effort or from their own non-marital property, they may be entitled to reimbursement in the event of a divorce.

Working with an attorney who has a thorough understanding of the legal definitions of marital and non-marital property can help you begin the divorce process with a better understanding of your financial situation and property interests. Your attorney can also help you resolve any disputes with your spouse that may arise throughout the process.

Contact a DuPage County Marital Asset Division Attorney

We can help you answer questions regarding marital and non-marital assets when you contact us for a free consultation at 630-358-9029. We will work with you to thoroughly review your case and determine the best way to proceed. We serve clients throughout DuPage County, including Wheaton, Winfield, Naperville, West Chicago, and Warrenville, as well as surrounding areas in Kane County, Cook County, and Will County.

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