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Palatine divorce attorney, marital propertyDivorce is a word with big meaning but even greater implications. At its most basic, divorce means the end of a marriage and the accompanying legal rights and obligations carried by married couples. However, when a couple initiates a divorce, they also unlock a series of legal issues that must be addressed before their divorce can be finalized.

Among these issues is the division of marital property — a considerable point of contention, given the importance of financial resources and contributions each spouse made to the marriage. Amassing assets requires hard work, time and sacrifice. Consequently, when divorce threatens to dismantle this hard-won structure, parties tend to push back against giving more than is absolutely necessary.

As a reflection of being a no-fault divorce state, Illinois divides property according to what is equitable or just. Only marital property is subject to distribution. Therefore, determining what exactly is marital property in a divorce case is a key issue.

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property division, Palatine divorce, commingling assetsGetting divorced means negotiating an equitable division of marital assets. Marital assets are any assets a couple acquired together during a marriage; everything else — assets either spouse came in to the marriage with, or assets received during the marriage by gift or inheritance — is separate. However, separate property can become a marital asset and is thus subject to division if the property is commingled with marital assets.

The following scenarios explore the concept of commingling and identify the types of situations in which separate property can become marital property.

Scenario 1: Pete and Rose have been married for 10 years. When married, the couple moved into Pete’s home, which he had purchased eight years prior to the marriage. Pete never put Rose’s name on the home’s title, however, nor was her name ever placed on the mortgage. The couple did open a joint checking account that they both contributed to, and the mortgage was paid from the joint account. If they divorce, will the home be considered separate or marital property?

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