Distributing marital property in a divorce is one of the most complex and sometimes contentious issues to resolve. When two lives are joined in marriage, finances become tangled in a way that can be challenging to separate.
The State of Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that marital assets are not necessarily divided evenly in a divorce, but instead must be divided fairly. Before property division decisions can be made, however, a determination must be made by the court concerning what constitutes marital property and which property is nonmarital.
Generally, marital property is defined as any property that is acquired during the marriage such as:
- Real estate (including primary homes, vacation homes and investment properties)
- Bank accounts
- Investment account
- Retirement accounts
- Stocks and stock options/Restricted stock units
- Businesses and business interests
- Household furnishings
How the property is held or whose name is on the title does not necessarily control whether it is marital. If it was acquired during the marriage, it is presumed to be marital property. For example, if only one spouse’s name is on a retirement account acquired during the marriage, it is marital property and subject to division in a divorce.
Some assets are considered nonmarital property and are excluded from distribution in a divorce.
- Property acquired prior to the marriage
- Gifts and inheritance (kept separately during the marriage)
- Property bought using nonmarital assets
- Property acquired after a legal separation
- Property excluded from marital property by a pre- or postnuptial agreement
Maintenance, formerly known as alimony or spousal support, is paid from one spouse to another upon divorce. The spouse who earns greater income provides monthly support payments to the spouse with the lesser or nonexistent income. Not all divorces involve spousal maintenance, however.
Robin Miller is experienced in handling all types of maintenance issues. Whether you are pursuing maintenance, defending against providing maintenance support, or seeking a post-divorce modification to an existing maintenance order, she can help.