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Posted on in Division of Property

property, Kane County family law attorneyIf you are considering divorcing your spouse, you probably have many questions. One of them may be the question of how you and your spouse’s property will be divided after you split. You may be wondering to yourself, “Who will stay in the family home?” or “Who will get the car?” You may have valuable property that you brought into the relationship such as antiques or jewelry. Will you get to keep those items? The law regarding property division in Illinois can be complicated and vary somewhat from case to case but there are some guidelines that courts use when making decisions about property division.

Equitable Division 

Before property is divided, it must be categorized as either marital or non-marital. Marital property includes assets and debts that the couple acquired during the marriage. Non-marital property is property that was owned by one spouse before the couple was married or property that was acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance. Illinois is an “equitable division” state. Equitable division means that marital property and debts are not always divided evenly; instead, they are divided fairly. The property and assets that a married couple owns is divided based on several factors including:

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Posted on in Divorce

military, St. Charles divorce attorneysIf you or your spouse is serving in the U.S. military, or has done so in the past, you know that military life can differ from civilian life in many significant ways. If you decide to divorce, virtually all aspects of the process, from the division of assets to the allocation of parental responsibilities, will be handled somewhat differently than if you were both civilians—especially if either of you are still serving.

The Jurisdiction Question

Normally, an Illinois court maintains personal jurisdiction over a divorce action when one or both spouses have resided in Illinois for at least 90 days. This is also true in military divorces, and being stationed in Illinois is considered maintaining residence in the state. However, in order for a court to have jurisdiction over an active military spouse, he or she must be served with a copy of the action and summons, so there is no question as to his or her knowledge of the proceedings. In the past, it was not uncommon for a servicemember to come home and discover they had been divorced without their knowledge!

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Posted on in Divorce

marital home, Kane County divorce attorneyWhen you and your spouse are considering how to divide your property in your divorce, the home that you shared during the marriage can quickly become a point of contention. Depending upon your family’s circumstances, you each may have a significant sentimental attachment to the home and, therefore, you each would prefer to keep it when the proceedings are finalized. Realistically, however, only one of you will get to keep the home, and, many divorce cases, in fact, result in the sale of the marital home to facilitate a more equitable division of the couple’s marital property.

Balancing Act

While there are exceptions, your marital home is likely to be the single largest asset you and your spouse own. You may, for example, have more valuable investments or savings, but such funds are usually easier to divide in a divorce. Your home, by comparison, is not able to be split into two portions, which means that you and your spouse—or the court, if necessary—will need to be more creative in finding a solution. Doing so is generally necessary because Illinois law mandates that, during your divorce, your marital property is to be divided in a manner that is equitable and just, based upon your unique situation.

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pets, Kane County divorce lawyerMillions of American families own dogs, cats, and other companion animals. In many situations, pets are as much a part of the family as any person. We share our homes, our lives, and, often, our own beds with the animals we love. With pets as common as they are in households around the country, it should hardly come as a surprise that many beloved dogs and cats get caught in the middle of difficult divorces. If you are a pet owner considering a divorce, it is important to know what your options may be regarding your furry friends.

Knowing the Law

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) contains most of the provisions governing the process of divorce in the state. The IMDMA, however, does not include any references to companion animals of any kind, meaning that, as far as the statute is concerned, animals are considered property. As such, what happens to dogs and cats in a divorce—when left to the court to decide—may be dependent upon the rest of the marital estate and how it is allocated between the spouses.

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inheritance money property Illinois lawWhen a couple decides to pursue a divorce, they must, at some point, determine how to divide the marital estate between them. If they are not able to reach an agreement regarding the identification and allocation of marital property, the court will be required to do so in accordance with Illinois law. The first step in the process is determining which assets and debts are included in the marital estate. For the most part, this step is fairly straightforward, as most of the property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is marital property. Inherited property, however, generally represents a significant exception, depending upon how it was held and handled throughout the marriage.

Your Inheritance Under Law

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that property received through “gift, legacy, or descent”—in other words, your inheritance—is not considered to be marital property. Therefore, inherited assets are not usually subject to division during a divorce. There are a few significant exceptions, though, and it is important to understand how the applicable law works.

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