When going through a divorce, a major point of contention may be the division of marital property amongst the two parties. A recent change to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act may have significant changes to how property is divided and should be taken into consideration when contemplating divorce.
Senate Bill 57, which took effect in January 2016, has three major areas of change to division of marital property. This includes an expansion in the presumption of marital property, rules dealing with commingled property, and the date at which property is valued.
Presumption of marital property
Changes to Illinois divorce laws deal with when property acquired by either party may or may not be considered marital property. Senate Bill 57 now holds that property or debts acquired between time of marriage and before petitioning for dissolution of a marriage is considered marital property.
Previously, income and other assets were considered marital assets up until the divorce was finalized. Under Illinois law, non-marital property is considered any property:
- Acquired by gift or inheritance;
- Acquired by exchanges before the marriage;
- Acquired by a spouse after a judgment of legal separation;
- Excluded by premarital agreements; or
- Acquired before the marriage.
New divorce laws require courts to conduct an investigation and have factual findings about whether property is considered marital or nonmarital. Courts must also use evidenced-based approaches when dividing property amongst divorcing parties.
Commingling of property essentially means both parties contributed in some way to the property once exclusively owned by another. Under the new Illinois divorce laws, contributions from spouses to property considered non-marital shall be considered marital contributions and may be reimbursed on dissolution of the marriage.
Marital and nonmarital property combined into a single estate may now be considered marital property and considered wholly marital property. Courts may award compensation by placing liens on a party’s property to ensure payment.
Date for determining value of property
Senate Bill 57 now allows courts, at their discretion, to use the date of trial as the date for valuation of property in a divorce. This means that property may gain or lose value prior to trial but whatever its value at the date of trial shall be used to determine division of property.
This may affect how much one spouse must compensate the other for the value of a home, business, or pension. Parties may also agree upon a date for valuation of property prior to trial but discretion ultimately rests with the judge presiding over the case.
Naperville divorce attorneys
Determining what property is marital and nonmarital and how to value and divide these assets can be an extremely complex but important part of finalizing a divorce. With the new changes to Illinois divorce laws, courts will take a hard look at these issues if parties cannot agree to them on their own.
Fortunately, seasoned and dedicated attorneys like those at Fay, Farrow & Associates P.C. have experience helping parties throughout the divorce process to reach fair and amicable resolutions. Contact our office for a consultation about your case. Our office serves clients in Naperville, Wheaton, and Downers Grove.