Non-Marital Property Can Affect the Division of Marital Assets

When you get divorced in Illinois, the law requires your marital property to be divided equitably between you and your spouse. The process raises two primary questions: what is marital property and what is equitable? A qualified divorce attorney can help you understand how the answers to those questions can impact your divorce settlement.

Marital Property Defined

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides that any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property, with a few specific exceptions. Assets given to one spouse as a gift or received as an inheritance are considered non-marital property, along with any property that was acquired before the marriage. Non-marital property is not subject to division in a divorce and remains under the control of the spouse who originally owned it.

Equitable Distribution

The IMDMA also provides that marital property must be divided between divorcing spouses in a manner that is equitable and just. This means that a 50/50 split of the marital estate is not guaranteed, but that property will be allocated as the court deems fair. In doing so, the court must consider a number of factors, including each spouse’s age, health, and employability, each spouse’s contribution to the marital estate, provisions being made for the children and many others.

The Effects of Non-Marital Property

Among the statutory considerations for property division are each spouse’s income and resources. As you might expect, these are not limited to income and resources that are considered marital assets. For example, if you held a significant stock portfolio prior to your marriage and did not use marital assets to increase its value during the marriage, the entire portfolio is likely to be considered non-marital property. If you receive substantial dividends each year as a result of your holdings, the court will take such income into account when dividing your marital estate. While you may not be required to split that resource with your spouse, its existence and the benefit you derive from it will still be considered when dividing marital assets.

Work With a Legal Professional

If you and spouse are considering a divorce, the process can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you have accumulated significant wealth. Contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney to explore your available options today. Our team is here to help simplify the process, ensuring that you fully understand the law and how it may affect your future. Call 708-518-8200 and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation at Kezy & Associates.