Property Division during Divorce Proceedings
Before you were married, you and your future spouse had no doubt accumulated personal assets. And now as a couple, you and your spouse have likely accumulated marital property for which you can both claim ownership. Divorce is difficult for anyone, but it becomes increasingly more difficult when couples have differing ideas on the division of property during divorce proceedings.
Paramount to the determination of who gets what during property division concerns how the property is classified. The property is either classified as marital, meaning that there the couple has joint ownership of the property, or it is classified as nonmarital, which means the individual owns the property.
First and foremost, property acquired before the marriage is the property of the individual, or nonmarital property. Marital property is any property acquired by either spouse after the marriage, except for certain property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent. If property is exchanged for property acquired before marriage, or exchanged for property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent, then it is considered nonmarital property. The parties to the divorce proceeding can agree to exclude certain property. If property is acquired after a judgment of legal separation, it will be considered nonmarital.
Nonmarital property also includes property obtained by valid judgment against one spouse, which then is awarded to the other. Pension benefits acquired after the marriage are considered marital property, and stock options acquired after the marriage are presumed to be marital property as well. Furthermore, life insurance and any interest accrued is considered marital property.
Of course, this is simply an overview of some of the property considered either as marital or nonmarital. The comingling of property raises issues concerning division of the property in question. Separate contributions by either spouse to marital or nonmarital property raises additional issues concerning the division or property during divorce proceedings. For a more comprehensive understanding, see 750 ILCS 5/503 concerning disposition of property.
If you or someone you know is facing the prospect of a divorce, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced attorney who can help ensure that your rights are protected. An Illinois divorce and family law attorney can advise you on the division of property and other issues in this area. Contact the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., for help in Palatine and throughout Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs.