The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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IL divorce lawyerDuring a divorce in Illinois, inheriting assets can cause conflict between couples. It is possible to protect your inheritance by taking specific steps. Here are some essential points to consider.

Understand Illinois’ Property Division Laws

In Illinois, when a couple divorces, the assets are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, based on the principle of “equitable distribution.” If you inherit assets, they are generally considered separate property and are not subject to division in a divorce. However, if you mix the inherited assets with marital assets or use the inherited funds for marital expenses, your spouse may be able to claim a portion of the inheritance.

Keep Your Inheritance Separate

Keeping your inheritance separate from your marital assets is crucial to safeguard it. This involves not mixing your inheritance with marital property and keeping it in an account under your name. Also, do not use the inherited money for any marital expenses, as it can invite a claim from your spouse for a share in the inheritance.


IL divorce lawyerIn Illinois, the division of assets is split equitably between the two parties. However, things can get complicated when distinguishing between marital property and non-marital property. Everything that is gained and bought during a marriage may be considered to be marital property. But, under unique circumstances, what is considered equitable may vary. It may be in the parties' best interest to work together, as well as with an experienced divorce attorney who can help navigate through this process and help make sure that your property and assets are protected from division.

Property Rights

Property purchased, sold, or owned by a married couple is similar to a single person who does these things. Once a party files for divorce, the court prohibits both of them from disposing of property in any way without the court's permission. The court will decide the right way to divide the property.

Marital Property

Anything that has been purchased within marriage is considered marital property. As stated before, all marital property is split equitably between parties in Illinois. Some examples of these things are:


Kane County divorce lawyerWhen people get divorced, most assume that they will have to divide their assets. However, many do not fully understand the rules and procedures for doing so. The good news is that with help from a qualified attorney, the process can be relatively straightforward in many cases.

Asset Division Considerations

The first step to dividing property is determining what is marital property and what is separate property. Separate property is defined as assets that were accumulated by an individual before the parties were legally married. Marital property includes assets and debts that have been accumulated by one or both parties during the marriage, with limited exceptions for gifts and inheritances.

Examples of property that could be considered marital include: 


aurora divorce lawyerIllinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that each party is entitled to a fair share of marital assets. Marital assets are items that were acquired while the parties were married. It does not matter if it was simply one of the parties that were making these purchases, if it was purchased or earned during the marriage, then both parties are entitled to it. The exception to this is if the asset was obtained through inheritance or gift.

High-value marital assets are one of the biggest issues that prolong divorces and make them more complex than they need to be. If the parties are willing to discuss these matters with a level head, they may be able to negotiate a fair divide between their assets. If they cannot reach an agreement, the court divides marital assets according to the “equitable distribution” doctrine.

Dividing High-Value Marital Assets 

When going through a divorce with high-value assets, both parties need a full understanding of all the assets they own and acquired during their marriage and the value of these assets. The value of these assets is often up for debate, so it is recommended to have them professionally valued by an appraiser. Here are some important assets that the spouses may need to address: 


kane county divorce lawyerCredit card debt is a common burden that afflicts many Americans. Out of frivolity or necessity, credit card debt can be easy to accumulate.  In fact, as of 2022, the credit card debt of American citizens has risen to $925 billion, which is a 15 percent increase from 2021. When a divorcing spouse discovers, unbeknownst to them, that their spouse has accrued debt from one credit card or multiple credit cards, the divorce can become acrimonious. The equitable division of assets can also become even more convoluted than a divorce involving financial transparency. 

Under Illinois law, most credit card debt is considered marital property as the non-offending spouse will be obligated to pay. A divorce attorney adept at identifying marital assets, which include debts, can evaluate your case and help strategize for a reasonable settlement.

Instances Where Credit Card Debt is Non-Marital

  • Legal separation – Any credit card debt accrued after a legal separation is considered non-marital. 

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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