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What Are Marital Assets?

By Nottage and Ward on May 23, 2022

Experiencing a divorce can be a stressful, time-consuming affair and can cause much uncertainty as to which assets each party will keep. When going through divorce proceedings, Illinois courts will determine which assets are “marital assets” and divide them between the two parties as they see fit.

This must be done properly to ensure that you receive the assets you rightfully deserve. At Nottage and Ward, LLP, our experienced divorce attorneys strongly believe in obtaining an equitable and fair outcome during divorce proceedings.

What Are Marital Assets?

In the most general of terms, marital assets are all assets obtained during a marriage. This can include property, financial assets, vehicles, debt and even stock options. These are the assets that are divided between the two spouses during divorce proceedings.

Unlike other states, Illinois does not employ a “community property law,” which means all marital property is split an equal 50/50 between each spouse. Instead, the state utilizes an equitable approach, which means that the court examines the various factors of each case and divides the assets according to what they believe is the fairest. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, that will affect this process as some decisions to be made have already been addressed.

It is important to note that if you are married, not all of your assets are considered to be marital assets. Illinois law provides that assets acquired before the marriage and that are still owned by just one partner, are personal property. For example, if one partner purchased a house before the marriage, and their name was solely registered on the title at the time of the divorce, this is personal property.

Similarly, assets acquired by one spouse via gift or inheritance are also considered to be personal property. Personal property is not eligible to be divided during a divorce, and you are therefore entitled to retain sole ownership.

Property Division

Property division is the division of any real estate that may exist within the marriage.

The division of a house, condo or apartment can be a contentious part of divorce proceedings. Often spouses have sentimental attachments to the property, especially if it was a family home. The division of property is not black and white, and the court aims for the fairest outcome possible. They look at a range of factors to see how the property can be most reasonably divided.

Some of the factors taken into consideration are:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the purchase
  • The contribution of each spouse to the maintenance
  • The existence of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
  • Potential custodial agreements
  • The employability, education, income and general economic position of each party

Financial Division

The financial division is the division of any monetary marital assets. The court takes a similar equitable approach to the division of financial assets as detailed above for property assets.

Financial assets that can be divided include retirement accounts (and their benefits), insurance policies and tax credits. In the 21st century, many new digital financial opportunities also must be considered. The division of cryptocurrency and NFTs are also possible during divorce proceedings as they are financial assets.

Hidden Assets

A bitter ex-spouse hiding certain marital assets from the other is a tale as old as time; however, not all hope is lost. Your spouse can keep assets from you via hidden cash, transferring assets to a third party or even overpaying taxes.

However, hidden assets may still be able to be split during divorce proceedings, and it is imperative to employ a quality attorney to assist you with uncovering them.

How We Can Help

Divorce proceedings are overwhelming, so it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. Here and Nottage Ward, LLP, our attorneys are committed to providing quality legal assistance to guide you through this difficult time.

Contact us today at (312) 332-2915 to see how we can help you.

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