You probably do not feel like concentrating on “things” during your divorce. You do not want to worry about the couch in the family room or the nice china. You simply want to move forward and begin to recover from the emotional turmoil of this time. However, you and your spouse will need to address your personal property. You two can decide how you will divide your things in a property settlement, or an Illinois judge will abide by the principles of equitable distribution and make these decisions for you. When you realize it is time to worry about the small things along with the big, and you need help receiving your fair share of marital property, call the DuPage County family law attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates at 630-961-0060.
Determining Marital Property
Whether you and your spouse are negotiating a property settlement or you take the matter before a judge, you will need to make the distinction between marital and non-marital property. Under Section 503(a) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, marital property is all property including debt, which was acquired by either or both spouses subsequent to the marriage. However, there are exceptions. Non-marital property includes:
- Property acquired before the marriage, except some retirement benefits.
- Property acquired by gift, legacy and descent.
- Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage.
- Property acquired by a spouse after a judgment for legal separation.
- Property excluded by a valid agreement between the parties.
- Any judgment or property obtained through a judgement awarded to one spouse.
If you have non-marital property, this is entirely yours. The court is required to assign it to you. However, all marital property must be divided between you and your spouse either through your own agreement or by the court.
Understanding Equitable Division
Illinois courts follow the rule of equitable distribution. Despite how it may sound, your marital property may not be divided exactly 50/50. Dividing real estate, money, and personal items in half is often not possible or fair. However, your property should be distributed justly, particularly if you are represented by a skilled family law attorney who fights for you to receive your fair share.
The judge will look at your and your spouse’s needs, the custody arrangement of the children, your and your spouse’s contributions to the marital estate, tax consequences and many more factors to determine how to divide the marital estate. The judge has discretion in how the property is distributed, but it will be based on the specific facts of your situation.
The Effect of a Prenuptial Agreement
Many people enter into a prenup when they get married. This document, if the court finds it is valid, can greatly affect how property is distributed during a divorce. A prenup can control who keeps certain real estate, expensive personal items, retirement benefits, and how savings and debts are distributed.
If you signed a prenuptial agreement and you are not sure what you are entitled to during a divorce, call the attorneys of Fay, Farrow & Associates immediately. We will review your prenup to ensure you receive everything you are entitled to in the divorce.
A DuPage County Divorce Attorney Can Help
Once your divorce is inevitable, you need to begin working with an experienced divorce attorney from Fay, Farrow & Associates. We understand how difficult this time is for you and how important it is to move on to the next stage of your life on the right foot. You need to end this process with your belongings and finances intact so that you can move forward. Call us today at 630-961-0060 to schedule a consultation or contact us online.