When an Illinois couple prepares to get a divorce, there are many issues that will be in dispute. Obviously, at the forefront will be children, custody and parenting time. Spousal support will be an important consideration as well. As with any marriage, there will be property that the couple owns. This can be a topic for rancor and disagreement. As they move forward to part ways, it is inevitable that there are items that both sides will want. Understanding what is marital property and non-marital property is key as this is often the determinative factor in who gets what. Marital property is that which the parties acquired after they were married. This includes any debt or obligation.
The following will be non-marital property: property that was acquired via descent, gift, legacy or that which was acquired in exchange for this type of property; property that was received in exchange for property that had been acquired prior to the marriage; property that one of the spouses acquired after there has been a legal separation; property that has been excluded due to there being an agreement beforehand, such as a premarital or postnuptial agreement and property that was acquired through a judgment awarded to a spouse except when there is the need for a lawsuit to get insurance coverage or recover from a third party and it is linked to the marital estate.
Other properties that will be considered non-marital are: property that was acquired prior to the marriage except for retirement plans that could have characteristics that are marital and non-marital; property that was acquired using non-marital property as collateral; any non-marital property with a rise in value regardless of whether it increased because of marital property contributions and income that was accrued from property that was acquired in any of the previously mentioned ways.
Calling a lawyer who specializes in Illinois family law should be done immediately for guidance and advice. While other issues will be more prominent as part of a divorce, property division tends to lead to extensive dispute between the spouses. Arguments over whether an item is marital or non-marital property can happen in a high-asset divorce or one of more modest means. Having legal assistance with the case from the start is one of the key decisions that a person can make.