Illinois family law: Is that marital or nonmarital property?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Property Division on Tuesday, August 5, 2014.

Is it yours? Is it your spouse’s? Alternatively, does it belong to both of you? And, if so, in undivided fashion or to some differentiated degree?

When it comes to property division in an Illinois divorce, those are all centrally relevant questions that must be answered before any distribution of assets can be realized.

You might want to get an experienced divorce attorney with strong knowledge concerning asset division matters on board early to help sort out those questions, because doing so has direct implications for how a resulting property division will unfold.

In Illinois, that unfolding will proceed pursuant to the state’s property distribution scheme, which generally revolves around notions of fundamental fairness. In other words: Although an asset division might not be exactly equal in terms of value, it will be equitable.

Getting to the point of distribution can take a lot of preparatory work, some of it quite complex, which, again, readily invites consideration of having a seasoned attorney closely involved in the process.

In the first instance, property must be properly characterized as either marital or nonmarital (separate). If it is the former, it is subject to distribution; if the latter, it is generally exempt from any distribution scheme.

Property deemed marital must also be valued, which can require input from a lawyer and, sometimes, other professionals.

There are other concerns in addition to property-type and valuation considerations. Obviously, a court will be closely preoccupied with the fair distribution of assets in a divorce proceeding. Judges look at myriad factors to guide them in their determinations, such as the length of a marriage, the provisions set forth in agreements such as prenuptial contracts, child custody arrangements and a host of other matters.

A proven family law attorney can help ensure that a court fully considers and promotes the best interests of a client in any divorce-related matter.

Source:, “Illinois property FAQS,” Sandra Nye (updated by Lisa Guerin), accessed Aug. 5, 2014

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