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North Aurora divorce attorney property division

When you and your spouse reach the point where you are ready to begin allocating property among yourselves, one of the first things you will have to do is determine what is and is not subject to division during your divorce. When a couple goes through a divorce in the state of Illinois, their assets are divided into two categories: marital and non-marital property. Marital property is the only type of property subject to division and consists of any property you or your spouse acquire during the marriage, with a few exceptions. One such exception is for gifts, which can be considered both marital and non-marital property, depending on the circumstances of the situation.

Gifts as Marital Property

Most of the time, the items that you receive as gifts during your marriage will be considered non-marital property. However, there may be circumstances in which your spouse will argue that the gift should be considered marital property and therefore subject to division with your other assets. Here are a few common examples of how gifts can be considered marital property during your divorce:


DuPage County asset division attorney

There are many things that you share with your spouse when you are married. For some people, one of the most stressful parts of divorce is figuring out what you and your spouse have to do to finalize the legal process and disentangle your finances. Before you start dividing up your assets and debts, you and your spouse must determine which of your assets are considered marital property and which assets will remain personal, non-marital property. In cases in which one spouse receives an inheritance during the marriage, the inheritance is usually considered to be non-marital property and resides with the spouse to whom it was given. However, this may not always be the case, so it is important to understand how these types of assets are handled in an Illinois divorce.

Marital and Non-Marital Property

In the state of Illinois, there is a distinction between marital and non-marital property. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, anything that a couple acquires during the marriage is considered to be marital property, aside from a few exceptions. One of those exceptions includes “property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent,” and inheritances fall into this category. In these instances, inheritances are typically not included in the marital estate alongside other property that is subject to division. With that being said, there are still some situations in which inheritance might still be subject to division during a divorce.


DuPage County, IL family law attorney prenuptial agreementAs times are changing, so are attitudes toward previously taboo topics, such as signing prenuptial agreements before marriage. Over the years, drafting a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot has become more and more popular. One possible reason for the increase in popularity is that people are waiting until later in life to get married the first time. This means more people are entering into marriage with more assets that they want to protect. Prenuptial agreements must be created carefully, or they run the risk of being invalidated if they are contested during a divorce. Here are a few ways your prenuptial agreement may be found invalid:

  1. The Agreement Was Not in the Right Format

In the state of Illinois, prenuptial agreements must be in writing. In other words, you cannot have an oral prenuptial agreement. Both you and your spouse must sign the agreement for it to become valid, and you must file it with the clerk of the circuit court so there is a record of the agreement.


Posted on in Divorce
Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,When you are going through a divorce, it can be a confusing process, especially because of all the words and legal terms that are used in divorce proceedings and paperwork. Understanding all of the legal jargon that is used during this process is crucial to you reaching a divorce settlement that you are satisfied with. Even some words that have normal meanings can have different meanings when used in a legal setting, which is why it is important that you educate yourself on specific words and phrases used in Illinois divorce proceedings. Marital Property: The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that marital property is all property, including debts, that is acquired by either spouse during the marriage.

Non-Marital Property: The Act also states that there are exceptions to marital property, which is called non-marital property. Examples of non-marital property include:

  • Property acquired by gift, legacy or descent;
  • Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage;
  • Anything acquired by either spouse after a legal separation; and
  • Property excluded in a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement.
Parenting Responsibilities: In Illinois, the term “custody” is no longer used. Instead, parenting responsibilities means both parenting time and important decision-making responsibilities when it comes to a child. Parenting Time: This refers to the time when a parent is responsible for taking care of the child and making non-significant decisions regarding the child.

Parenting Plan: This is a written agreement between parents that allocates and specifies certain things concerning their child. Things that can be covered in a parenting plan include:

  • Parenting time;
  • Decision-making responsibilities;
  • Living arrangements;
  • Schooling; and
  • Child support, if applicable.
Relocation: The term relocation is used when a parent moves a child from their current residence to a new residence. Spousal Maintenance: In Illinois, the term “alimony” has been replaced with spousal maintenance. This is the term used for any sort of payment that is paid from one spouse to another after a divorce depending on each spouse’s financial situation and needs. Get Representation from a Kendall County Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can be confusing, but it does not have to be. With the help of a well-versed Aurora divorce attorney, you can understand and be fully involved in your divorce. When you choose to be represented by an attorney from the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., you can rest easy knowing your divorce case is in good hands. Call the office at 630-409-8184 to set up a consultation.


equitable distribution, Aurora divorce attorneyFor those who have never experienced divorce, there are often many myths and misconceptions that surround the process. One of the most common of these is the idea that when a couple gets divorced, each spouse is entitled to half of the couple’s property, regardless of where, when, or how the property was acquired. In Illinois, the reality is much different, as state law is very specific about what property is subject to division and that marital property is to be divided equitably, not necessarily equally.

Marital and Non-Marital Property

The first step in equitably dividing marital property in a divorce is determining what, exactly, is marital property. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, any property that is acquired by either spouse in the course of the marriage is considered marital property. There are limited exceptions to this rule, as assets acquired by gift or inheritance are considered non-marital property. Once the marital estate has been established, the value of each marital and non-martial asset must be determined so that the next stage of the process can begin.


inherited property, DuPage County family law attorneyDivorce is a complicated topic. There is virtually no limit to the types of issues that can arise, and each case is as unique as the individuals and families involved. Dividing property in divorce is often among the most difficult considerations with which a couple must contend, and while the laws regarding the process are seemingly straightforward, their practical application is often quite complicated. This can be especially true regarding inherited property, or assets received by either spouse following the death of friend or family member.

What Does the Law Say?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the marital estate—property that is subject to division in divorce—consists of all assets and debts acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage, with limited exceptions. Among the most prominent exceptions, however, is “property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent or property acquired in exchange for such property.” In other words, anything given to you as a gift or as inheritance is non-marital property, as are proceeds from the sale of gifted or inherited property. For example, if your uncle passed away and left you his home, you could still sell the home and keep the money as a non-marital asset.


prenuptial agreement, Illinois family lawyerAs more and more couples wait longer to enter into marriage for the first time, along with the rising prevalence of remarriage, individuals have more time than ever to accumulate wealth and property on their own. Extensive personal assets, of course, can make a subsequent divorce much more complicated, as it may difficult to differentiate between marital and non-marital property. For just reason, those who have started a business or obtained ownership of a company prior to marriage are encouraged to consider a prenuptial agreement to protect their interests.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

While the law in Illinois already provides that property or assets acquired prior to a marriage are not considered marital property, complications can still arise. For example, if your spouse owned a company before you got married, the company itself may not be part of the marital estate, but income generated by your spouse’s efforts after the marriage are usually considered to be marital. Similarly, any marital property invested into the company during your marriage may need to be reimbursed to the estate in the event of divorce, even as the company ownership remains non-marital.


marital property, Illinois law, Aurora divorce lawyerDivorce can present a whole host of challenges for a couple who is unprepared for the process. Even those who have planned ahead may still experience a wide range of difficulties, as the proceedings can be stressful, confusing, and, at times, overwhelming. For many couples, negotiating an agreement regarding the allocation of marital property can be particularly tough. While a qualified family law attorney can help you reach an equitable arrangement, it is important to understand a number of considerations contained in the law regarding asset division.

Establishing the Marital Estate

A generation or two ago, the average age of individuals getting married was significantly lower. Young couples were more likely to build their entire lives together, thus the determination of marital property was pretty straightforward. Nearly everything the couple had acquired in their adult lives was subject to division in divorce. Today, couples are waiting longer to get married, and many more are entering second or third marriages, making it increasingly difficult to draw the line between marital and non-marital property.

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


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

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