Every divorce is unique to the couple involved, but the division of marital property remains an important component of nearly every divorce. Those assets that you and your spouse acquired over the course of your marriage are generally classified as marital property, which is intended to be divided equitably in the event that you divorce in Illinois. Equitably means fairly given the circumstances involved, rather than equally or directly down the middle. If you’re heading into a divorce, it’s time to consult with an experienced Chicago divorce attorney.
Your Property Rights as a Married Couple
The state of Illinois naturally recognizes everyone’s individual property rights, whether you are married or not. You and your spouse both have these rights, and this is why – as soon as either one of you files for divorce – a stay order will be issued that stops either of you from disposing of property in any capacity (without the court’s permission to do so) during the pendency of your divorce. In this way, the status quo of your marriage is maintained – until the court can separate your marital property from your nonmarital property and can determine an equitable division of those marital assets.
Is It Marital Property?
Property that either of you brings into your marriage and keeps separate throughout qualifies as nonmarital property that will not be included in the division of your marital assets. However, nearly any property that you purchased or obtained during the course of your marriage – regardless of how title to said property is held – is marital property. In addition to your home, household goods, and vehicles, this includes all of the following:
- Retirement accounts and pensions
- Financial accounts, such as a bank, brokerage, and investment accounts
- Stocks and stock options
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to marital property. One prime example is that while you may bring a retirement account into your marriage with you (making it separate property), the amount that it increases in value over the course of your marriage is very likely to be considered marital property.
Importantly, some assets that are obtained during the course of one’s marriage remain nonmarital property in the State of Illinois, including all of the following:
- Assets that either of you received as a gift, inheritance, or legacy
- Assets that either of you obtained after legally separating
- Assets that either of you owned before your marriage (and kept separate throughout your marriage)
- Assets that were specifically excluded by either a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
- Assets that either of you specifically purchased with nonmarital property (or with a judgment awarded in your name)
Reach out to an Experienced Chicago Divorce Attorney Today
Divorce has a way of complicating things, and the equitable division of marital property is no exception. If you’re facing a divorce, the practiced Chicago divorce attorneys at Andrea Heckman Law are committed to skillfully advocating for terms that fully protect your financial rights. For more information, please don’t wait to contact us today.