A divorce involves tough decisions and discussions that ex-spouses may not be able to handle on their own. This includes fair division of property the couple shared before and during their marriage.
Since Illinois is not a community property state, marital assets are split 50/50 between both spouses, regardless of the circumstances. However, court officials decide what is equitable distribution based on specific cases and certain aspects can affect their decision. During such cases, a property is categorized in the following ways:
Marital Property and Marital Estate
You can create a ‘marital estate’ with your spouse as soon as you get married and start collecting assets. Marital property includes assets you purchase as a couple after the wedding. So, if you happen to buy a winning lottery ticket before saying ‘I do,’ it will be yours because it is considered a non-marital asset.
Contrary to popular belief, the property is not non-marital if it is acquired after a divorce is filed or after a separation. It will be considered marital property. If you move out prior to your divorce, buy another house, and fill it with expensive artwork, all those things will be co-owned by your spouse and will be divided as such.
The state recognizes ‘no-fault’ divorces i.e. the court will not favour one spouse over the other no matter whose fault the split was. In other words, the victimized spouse will not get more in marital assets.
Non-marital property includes assets owned by either of the spouses before they got married. This includes property that is:
- Acquired as a legacy or gift.
- Acquired in exchange for property that the spouse received before the marriage as a gift or legacy.
- Excluded from the marital state due to a mutual and valid agreement by both parties, such as a prenuptial agreement.
- Income generated from any of the non-marital properties spouses own – if it is not the result of personal effort.
- Acquired by a spouse after a legal separation.
- Among others.
To understand all of your options, get in touch with a divorce attorney at the Fitzgerald Law Firm, P.C., today. We understand you have a lot weighing on your mind and can guide you through all the legal options you have at your disposal. Move forward with your new life on the right foot with the best settlement possible.