St. Charles Premarital Assets Lawyers

Kane County Divorce Attorney Explains Division of Property Rules for Inheritances and Assets Owned Before Marriage

A common concern in divorce is whether a particular asset will be considered marital property or non-marital property. You might wonder: Will my family heirlooms or my wedding ring have to be appraised and my spouse awarded half of its value in the divorce? What about assets that I owned prior to my marriage or debts that my spouse had before we married?

At Goostree Law Group, we understand the many financial questions and concerns that arise when you begin divorce proceedings. It can all be a bit overwhelming. You can count on our staff to listen carefully to your concerns and to answer your questions patiently and in easily understandable terms.

Our attorneys have an average of 15 years of experience in divorce and family law, so we have heard similar questions many times, and we will give you accurate answers based on your specific circumstances.

How Can a Premarital Asset Become a Marital Asset?

What Is Marital Property?

Generally speaking, income earned and debts incurred during your marriage are considered marital property, along with all assets bought with that income. It does not matter whose name is on the property title. Deposits into 401(k) and IRA accounts made with income earned during the marriage and any pension benefits accrued during the marriage are also considered marital property. In a divorce, all marital property is subject to division "in just proportions."

What Is Non-Marital Property?

You get to keep 100 percent of your non-marital property in a divorce, including:

  • Assets and debts acquired prior to the marriage, including that part of retirement savings and pension benefits built up prior to the marriage.
  • Any increase in the value of assets owned prior to marriage.
  • Any income earned from assets owned prior to marriage
  • Inheritances you receive during the marriage.
  • Gifts given to you, and intended for your sole use, during the marriage.
  • Assets designated as non-marital property in a prenuptial agreement.
  • Property acquired in exchange for non-marital property, such as investment account transactions or the sale of a piece of real estate to fund the purchase of another asset.
  • A judgment received by one spouse, such as compensation awarded in a personal injury lawsuit.

How Can Non-Marital Property Become Marital Property?

There are several ways that all or part of a non-marital asset can become subject to division:

  • When non-marital assets were used to secure a mortgage to buy non-marital property during the marriage, and marital funds were used to repay the loan. The value of those marital contributions should be added to the marital estate to be divided.
  • When the value of non-marital property, such as rental property or a business owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, was increased substantially due to significant, unpaid personal effort contributed by the other spouse. The increase in the value of that non-marital property should be added to the marital estate to be divided.
  • When a non-marital asset has been commingled with marital assets to the extent that the non-marital asset loses its identity. For example, suppose that one spouse had premarital assets consisting of a car valued at $20,000 and savings of $10,000. The other spouse brought to the marriage savings of $40,000 and no car. They merge these savings into one joint account and over the years, money goes in and out of the account for various marital purposes. The original car has been sold, and now the couple has two cars. At this point, the identity of the original premarital assets has been lost due to commingling, and the value of those original premarital assets is now part of the marital estate to be divided.

The classification of assets as marital versus non-marital property can be quite complicated, and there are many fine points to the law that have been decided by the courts. If you have any questions about the treatment of specific assets in your divorce, consult with your attorney.

Contact a St. Charles Premarital Assets and Inheritances in Divorce Lawyer

The attorneys of Goostree Law Group will advocate strongly for your interests in matters of divorce, family law, and criminal defense. We serve clients in the Kane County communities of St. Charles, Campton Hills, Elgin, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elburn, Kaneville, and LaFox. Contact us in our St. Charles office at 630-584-4800 for a free consultation.

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