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Division of Property: What are Marital Assets?

Posted on in Distribution of Assets

martial assets, division of property, Illinois Divorce AttorneyDivorce can present an entire spectrum of challenges for any couple, as they must contend with a large number of concerns. Depending on their specific circumstances, they may need to negotiate considerations for their children, determine new living arrangements, and establish an agreement regarding spousal support. Despite the difficulties inherent to any those issues, couples frequently have the most trouble in property division negotiations.

Equitable Distribution

Illinois law concerning divorce requires that, in the absence of a reasonable agreement, the property which constitutes the marital estate is to be divided between divorcing spouses. Unlike some states, however, Illinois property division guidelines require the equitable distribution of marital assets and debt as opposed to equal division. While equitable distribution will be addressed in more detail in a separate post, it essentially means that the property should be divided fairly, not necessarily 50/50, based on the consideration of circumstantial factors.

Marital Assets and Non-Marital Assets

At the heart of any property division proceeding is the determination of what constitutes the martial estate and what is to be exempted from division. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act specifies that all property acquired be either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property, except:

  • Property acquired by gift or inheritance;
  • Property acquired after a valid legal separation;
  • Property excluded by specification in a valid agreement such as a prenuptial agreement;
  • Property obtained by a judgment awarded to one spouse from the other;
  • Property acquired before the marriage; and
  • Property, proceeds, or income generated by the sale, appreciation in value, or exchange of property deemed to be non-marital property.

As asset that falls under any of the exception categories listed in the law is considered to be non-marital property. Non-marital assets are not addressed in the division of property and remain in the ownership of the spouse to whom they belong.

Potential Complications

As with most divorce-related concerns, there are many situations in which the disposition of a particular asset may be in dispute. For example, if a husband receives a cash inheritance and knowingly deposits it into a joint account he shares with his wife, a level of uncertainty may be created. By law, the inheritance is non-marital property, but depositing it into a joint account may be seen as a type of gift to his wife or the marital estate. While such actions during the course of a marriage may have little or no long-term impact, for the purposes of property division they may matter significantly.

Division of Property Attorneys

If you are involved in a property division dispute, the assistance of a qualified lawyer can prove to be invaluable. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights divorce attorney today at A. Traub & Associates. Our knowledgeable team understands the challenges of the divorce process and is ready help you make the best decisions for your future.


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