Illinois law treats marital property differently from nonmarital property. Marital property — any property acquired during the marriage — is subject to equitable distribution. Nonmarital property — assets you owned before your marriage — is typically awarded to its owner.
In the midst of the sometimes overwhelming divorce process, it is the job of your divorce attorney to help you understand the financial ramifications of certain decisions. At Thomas W. Hunter, P.C., in Illinois, we can help you understand property division laws and the effect they will have on your most important assets.
Determining What Belongs To You
Nonmarital property generally includes property acquired prior to marriage, certain gifts, inherited property, and the appreciation in value of nonmarital property. For example, you could consider an engagement ring given to you as a gift prior to marriage as nonmarital. Property acquired after a legal separation or in exchange for nonmarital property is also nonmarital.
One potential hurdle in any property division dispute is your spouse arguing that your nonmarital property actually is a marital asset.
This happens when nonmarital property becomes "commingled" with your spouse, so that it is impossible to know the value of the nonmarital property. For example, if you owned a home before your marriage, but then your spouse started making payments on the mortgage and contributing to the upkeep, the house and any increase in value could be a marital asset.
That is why having experienced legal representation is essential to the protection of your financial rights and interests. So-called "tracing" issues (finding out who paid for what) can be complex and should be handled by an experienced divorce attorney.
Contact Thomas W. Hunter, P.C. for Help Guarding Your Financial Interests
For experienced representation in the northern or western suburbs of Chicago, contact our law firm in Illinois, our law practice has been focused exclusively on family law since 1974. We offer clients experienced, dedicated and highly personalized representation.
To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, contact us today.