Chicago Lawyers Answer Property Division FAQs
If my spouse and I lived in a house I bought before our marriage, is it considered marital property?
How can my spouse and I avoid a court-imposed property division if we can't agree to terms on our own?
A: Generally, property division is not modifiable after the Judgment has been entered unless there was a misrepresentation made which rises to the level of a fraud or assets were concealed. Buyer's remorse and hindsight are not enough of a reason for the court to revisit the property division.
A: Unless otherwise arranged in a written or oral division of property agreement between both parties, the court will divide the marital property equitably, not equally, based on a variety of factors, including each party's contribution to the maintenance of property, the value of the property, and custodial arrangements and requirements for children.
A: In most cases, the written agreement is will be accepted by the court. However, if the court finds the agreement unconscionable, it may ask for a revised agreement or it may make its own orders on the disposition of marital property during the hearing.
Q: If my spouse and I lived in a house I bought before our marriage, is it considered marital property?
A: No, any property acquired before the marriage is considered "non-marital property" and is not subject to a court's disposition of property order. You must be able to prove that this was owned by you prior to the marriage and other claims may arise that relate to the home. Here is a good general rule to go by when trying to determine which property is considered "marital" and which is not:
All property acquired by either spouse AFTER the marriage and BEFORE a judgment of dissolution of marriage, or invalid marriage declaration, is considered marital property regardless of property title.
There are, however, various exceptions to this rule, where property acquired after marriage is considered non-marital property under specific circumstances. An experienced Chicago divorce lawyer can give you the details of these exceptions.
Q: How can my spouse and I avoid a court-imposed property division if we can't agree to terms on our own?
A: The terms of a divorce are sometimes agreed upon amicably, but oftentimes it is a long and challenging process. When you are unable to work with your spouse, there is another option to a court-imposed decision. Our dedicated Chicago property division attorneys at Nottage and Ward, LLP have years of experience in mediating divorce term negotiations and can help you and your spouse come to an equitable decision so the court doesn't have to. Contact us at (312) 332-2915 to find out more.
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