Marital Versus Nonmarital Property (What Is And Isn't)

When you and your spouse decided to separate, one of the first questions is how to divide the property. Everything — from the family home to personal property — that was purchased or acquired during the marriage must be divided between the spouses.

Chicago Marital Property Division Lawyers

At the Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C., we will work with you to make sure that assets are properly valued and divided fairly. A full understanding of a couple's marital estate takes time to learn about the situation. When cases require additional investigation and financial experts to trace assets or obtain proper valuation, we will do what is necessary to help protect your interests in a divorce.

What Is Marital And Nonmarital Property?

For couples who may have married prior to starting their careers or purchasing real estate, the question of what property is marital will be quite simple to answer. For those couples, however, where one or both parties have acquired a home or started a business prior to the marriage, the answers are much harder to find.

In basic terms, all property that a couple buys or otherwise acquires after their marriage is marital property and therefore subject to division in a divorce case. Nonmarital property would be any property that one of the spouses owned prior to the marriage. Inheritance gifts made solely to one spouse, even if received during the marriage, will remain nonmarital property.

The critical piece to remember about nonmarital property is that clear and well-documented records are often critical when one spouse later claims property is nonmarital as part of a divorce case. A spouse who wishes to claim that property is nonmarital must convince a court with clear and convincing evidence, which can be a tough legal standard to meet without a clear paper trail.

For example, let's say a wife receives an inheritance from her parents and uses the money to make improvements to the family home, or deposits the money into general family accounts. The inheritance money, if co-mingled or combined with other marital money, will very likely be considered marital property should it become an issue in a later divorce.

In addition, cases can quickly become complicated in longer-term marriages and in cases where a family business is involved, especially where one spouse owned the business prior to the marriage and the other spouse worked or otherwise supported the business. We will take the time to work with you and understand your unique situation to ensure that your rights and interests are fully protected during all phases of your divorce case.

Contact Cook County Family Law Attorneys

Property distribution can be a complicated and important aspect of your divorce case. If you have questions about how our firm can work with you to understand both your current and future financial situation, contact our Illinois property division law firm or call our office at 312-462-0324 to set up an initial consultation.