In the State of Illinois the courts view property as either marital or non-marital property. While each situation requires targeted analysis and review, there are some generalities that help to determine which property is a part of the marital assets and which property may fall under non-marital property.
In general non-marital property includes:
- All property which you owned prior to the marriage, which has been kept separate and apart in your name alone, and which has not been commingled with any assets acquired during the marriage.
- All property that you received as a gift, or that was inherited.
The presumption is that all property acquired after the marriage is marital. That includes all assets, despite in whose name it is held, i.e., whether held jointly or in one spouses’ name alone. The determining factor is the date of acquisition.
Property that enters the marriage as non-marital property may become a part of the marital property when circumstances change. For example, if you owned a home outright when you entered the marriage but then refinanced the home with your spouse after the marriage, placing your spouse’s name on the title, the home would convert from non-marital to marital property. Another scenario would be if you sold that home. The proceeds from selling a home that you owned outright prior to marriage would remain non-marital property. However, if you deposited the proceeds into a joint bank account which contained your salary and other marital money, the cash from the sale of the house would beecome marital property.
Ultimately, it falls upon the court to determine which property is “non-marital” or “marital” property. Once the determinations are made, each party will walk away with their non-marital property while the marital assets will be divided equitably, but not necessarily equally.
When multiple assets are involved, it is always best to work with an experienced divorce attorney to insure that you have a clear understanding of your assets and that the court has the information necessary to make equitable distributions.