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What Kinds of Property are Divided in an Illinois Divorce? 

Posted on in Division of Property

Kane County divorce lawyerEveryone knows that when a couple divorces, they split everything they own 50/50. Right? Wrong! Property division in divorce is actually much more complex than just throwing everything into a big pot and then splitting it down the middle.

In this blog, we will address some of the most common types of property that must be divided in a divorce, and how Illinois divorce courts tend to divide property. Keep in mind that Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that rather than dividing assets 50/50, assets will be divided fairly according to a number of factors that the court will consider.

Homes and Land

The marital home is often the most valuable asset a couple owns together. Depending on whether the couple has children and one of the spouses wishes to stay in the home, the couple may choose to have one spouse buy out the other spouse’s value in the home, or sell the home and split the proceeds.

Premarital homes and land typically remain the property of the spouse who owns them, especially if a prenuptial agreement protects the spouse’s ownership rights. However, if one spouse contributes to the upkeep and increased value of a home owned by the other spouse, they may be entitled to a share of the property’s value at the time of the divorce.

Vehicles, Large Appliances, and Furniture

If a vehicle, appliance, or valuable piece of furniture was purchased by someone before they were married, they usually will retain ownership after divorce. If an asset is bought during a marriage, it is presumed to be marital property. Because vehicles typically have loans associated with them, a vehicle is generally given to whichever spouse is willing to take over the payments of the vehicle in full.

Most of the time, each spouse keeps their own car, and the court does not spend time hashing out the exact value of each car and accounting for any discrepancy with other assets. Spouses are usually able to come to an agreement about appliances and furniture bought during the marriage, and unless these have an exceptionally high value, the court will not spend time assigning them an exact value.

Retirement Accounts, Investment Accounts, and Social Security

Retirement accounts, investment accounts, and pensions are typically divided according to how much time the couple was married and how much money was invested in the accounts during the marriage. Having an experienced divorce attorney is especially useful when high-value financial instruments need to be divided, as there are often important steps to take to avoid unnecessary losses.

A spouse’s Social Security benefits cannot be divided by an Illinois divorce court. However, even after a divorce, a person may be able to qualify for spousal benefits based on their former spouse’s work history.

Inheritances, Gifts, and Prenuptial Agreements

Inheritances and gifts are not considered marital property under Illinois law, so long as the money is not placed into a shared marital bank account or otherwise commingled. If the funds are not held in a separate bank account, it is a good idea to create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that specifies who the gift or inheritance belongs to, no matter how the funds are used. Prenuptial agreements can be a valuable instrument for protecting your personal finances in the event of a divorce.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

If you are preparing for divorce and have questions about how the division of property works in Illinois, you should speak with an experienced St. Charles, IL property division attorney at Goostree Law Group. Our team is knowledgeable and will assertively act in your best interests. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation at 630-584-4800.



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