PROPERTY DIVISION

Capable Chicago & Skokie, Divorce Attorneys Managing Property Division

Talented Illinois asset and property division attorneys

Courts in Illinois have the power and authority under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to divide marital property “equitably.” The Cook County divorce attorneys of M. Scott Gordon & Associates can explain whether property is marital or non-marital, whether non-marital property was converted into marital property, and whether the court may order any reimbursement in the marital and non-marital estates or contributions from one to the other.

Distinction between marital and non-marital property

All property acquired during the marriage is marital property, except in specific circumstances, which are listed below, and should be divided by the court “equitably.” The term “equitable” is not the same as “equal.” Our courts have broad discretion in dividing marital property, and they have not hesitated to divide that property on an unequal basis where the facts make such a division seem appropriate. In making these decisions, courts and attorneys are guided by case law and Section 503 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Section 503 states specifically that marital property shall be divided “without regard to marital misconduct in just proportions.” Many people mistakenly believe that the non-financial misconduct of their spouse during the marriage affects how property is distributed, but the law instructs judges not to consider marital misconduct when dividing marital property. To better understand the actual effects of marital misconduct on a divorce proceeding, consult our experienced Cook County divorce attorneys.

What do judges consider when deciding how to divide marital property, such as the marital residence, in an “equitable manner”? Factors include (a) duration of the marriage, (b) relevant economic circumstances of each party, (c) age, health, station, occupation, income, skills/employability, non-marital assets and needs of each party, (d) division of property, including the marital residence, in addition to any maintenance, or in lieu of maintenance, (e) reasonable opportunity of each party for future acquisition of assets and income, and (f) the tax consequences of the property division for each party. Our Cook County divorce attorneys can help you achieve a fair division of property in divorce. We can also help you understand how certain circumstances and events, such as a legal separation, affect the status of marital property. Our firm can explore with you alternative options such as divorce mediation.

A court has the power to determine if a spouse has dissipated any property. Broadly speaking, dissipation means that one party spent marital assets on purposes “unrelated to the marriage.” The most obvious example of dissipation is when one party spends marital assets on a new girlfriend or boyfriend. However, the concept of dissipation is much broader and is designed to protect the innocent spouse from the wasteful spending of the other spouse.

What is non-marital property? It is property (a) acquired by gift or inheritance, (b) acquired in exchange for property obtained before the marriage by gift or inheritance, (c) acquired after a judgment for legal separation, (d) excluded by valid agreement of the parties, (e) acquired before the marriage, (f) acquired by judgment from one party to the other. The increase in value of these properties is also non-marital, although contributions of marital assets must be reimbursed.

In addition, non-marital property can be converted into marital property. For example, a home acquired by one spouse before marriage is generally non-marital. However, that status can be changed to marital property if the spouse later puts the title under both spouses’ names. Property division issues may be settled through Chicago divorce mediation. A Cook County divorce attorney can help you explore alternatives to a court-determined division of property.

Do you need a Cook County divorce attorney to help with your division of property matters?

Contact the Chicago divorce attorneys of M. Scott Gordon & Associates online or call our Chicago office at 847.329.0101 or our Skokie office at 312.360.0250  today. We serve Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Northbrook, Niles, Glenview and the Cook County area.

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