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Dividing Property in Dissolution of Marriage

Posted on in Divorce

property division, commingling, marital property, non-marital propertyWhether you have been married 50 years or 50 days, you and your spouse likely have commingled property that used to be exclusively yours. Money from your individual savings accounts can be commingled; money or property you received from a relative through inheritance can be commingled; and even a home or farm that you owned individually could have become commingled during your marriage.

Commingling occurs when money or assets from the estate of one entity gets transferred into the estate of another. A common occurrence of commingling is when an individual owns a business and the money in personal accounts and business accounts gets moved back and forth to the point that it becomes no longer separate. In a marriage, at least in the context of divorce, all of the property of the spouses is classified as either marital property or non-marital property. In a close relationship, the property of two separate people can easily become commingled. Can Commingled Property Be Recovered in Dissolution? In order to answer that question, the property in dispute must first be classified, either as marital or non-marital. Non-marital property is anything a spouse owned before the marriage or that was given to them alone during the marriage, which could include a truck given to him by his father, or an inheritance from a great aunt. Marital property is everything else, including all property that was acquired during the marriage, even the separate income of the spouses. In a divorce, the person wishing to recover property that used to be his or hers individually claims that something that is now considered marital property was and should still be considered non-marital property. It is an argument for reimbursement, as perhaps what was contributed to the marital estate was significant, and it would simply be fairer to credit it back to the contributor. Thus, reimbursement is a possibility, but it requires good record keeping and the right circumstances. The general rule is that a contribution from one estate into another (i.e. non-marital into marital) becomes classified as property of the recipient. However, in the following circumstances, a spouse may be reimbursed for certain contributions:
  • Traceable property - a contribution that can be clearly traced from the marital estate to the non-marital estate, such as a car that was bought with money directly received from an inheritance;
  • Can’t be a gift - a contribution that was clearly not intended to be a gift;
  • Personal efforts with significant effects – efforts that resulted in substantial appreciation of the property. For example, significant home improvements funded by money from non-marital property, or a profitable management of a wealth portfolio.
Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney If you think you ought to be reimbursed for a contribution you made to your marital estate, consult with experienced family attorneys. Contact Goostree Law Group today. We serve clients in Illinois, and we can answer all of your family law questions.
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