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Illinois' Marriage and Divorce Laws Changes: What Does This Mean for My Property Division?

Posted on in Marital Property

property-divisionBig changes have come to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, effective January 1, 2016. These changes include new rules regarding child custody, property division, grounds for divorce, and the period of time a couple must be separated from each other before they may file for divorce. 

Property Will be Valued by its Market Value Standard

Under the changes to the law, the court will determine the value of a couple's property by applying the fair market value standard. This means that a couple's property will be appraised according to its worth on the date that the court handles the couple's property division, rather than by considering factors like the property's cost and potential for depreciation. If necessary, the court can bring in an outside financial expert to appraise a couple's property. The divorcing couple may be held responsible for the cost of the professional appraiser.

What Is Marital Property?

The changes to the law also include a new cutoff point for determining whether an asset is considered to be marital or singly-held property. Previously, all property acquired before a couple's divorce was final was considered to be marital property. Now, only the property acquired before the couple files for divorce will be considered to be marital property, leaving all items acquired by the individual spouses while the divorce is pending to be considered to be singly-held property.

Marital property will still be divided according to the principle of equitable distribution, which means that it will not be divided 50/50 but instead, according to each partner's contribution to the marital estate and financial need after the divorce. Under the new rules, the court is required to provide an explanation for every decision it makes regarding the division of a couple's property.

This includes commingled property. Commingled property is property that was held by one of the spouses prior to the marriage and commingled with the other during the marriage. This can include savings that an individual earned prior to the marriage that he or she used to purchase a home, effectively turning that money into marital property because it is tied up in a marital asset.

Kane County Divorce Attorneys

With the changes included in Senate Bill 57, divorcing couples in Illinois can expect new rules regarding the division of their property during the divorce process. To learn more about what these changes might mean for your individual divorce case, contact our team of experienced Kane County divorce attorneys at the Goostree Law Group today to schedule your legal consultation with our firm. We can answer any questions you have about the current and upcoming property division laws in Illinois and guide you through each step of the divorce process.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/99/SB/09900SB0057lv.htm

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