Rockford Marital Asset Lawyer & Illinois Asset Division Attorney

From purchasing a car or investing in a forever home to opening joint bank accounts and operating a small business, there are countless financial decisions that can arise over the course of a marriage. When two individuals decide to seek a divorce, such property must be divided, giving rise to challenging asset division issues.

As a marital asset attorney with decades of experience assisting clients in Rockford and the surrounding communities, including (but not limited to) Davis, Byron, Roscoe, Crystal Lake, and Freeport, I am poised to handle high-asset divorces and complex financial issues. If you are considering a divorce or are in the midst of a separation, I invite you to call my office to schedule a free consultation to learn how I and my Rockford divorce law firm can assist in your property division matter. I also encourage you to read the following frequently asked questions to learn how marital and non-marital property are divided in Illinois.

What Assets and Debts Are Included as Marital Property?

In Illinois, only marital estate assets are divided during divorce. Section 5/503(b) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) defines marital property as consisting of all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage and before the entry of a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, unless the property falls in one of the eight exceptions listed in Section 5/503(a). Non-marital property transferred into some form of co-ownership between the spouses is also presumed to be marital property. Employment income of both spouses during the marriage is generally marital income.

What Types of Assets and Property are Not Considered Part of the Marital Estate?

Illinois divorce and asset division laws provide eight classifications of Non-Marital Property, which generally include:

  • property acquired before the marriage;
  • gifts, legacies, descents (or property acquired in exchange for such property);
  • property acquired after a judgment of legal separation;
  • certain property acquired in exchange for other non-marital property;
  • property excluded by valid agreement of the parties (i.e., premarital or post-nuptial agreements);
  • property obtained by judgment awarded to a spouse from the other spouse;
  • property acquired by a spouse through the sole use of non-marital property as collateral for a loan that is then used to acquire property; and
  • certain increases in value and income of Non-Marital Property.

While these classifications may sound straight-forward, the application is often not straight-forward.  Often, previously separate Non-Marital Property is commingled, such as when a gift or inheritance is placed into a joint banking account. When commingling occurs, there is a presumption that one spouse is making a gift to the other spouse (and marital estate); this presumption must be overcome by clear and convincing evidence.

How Is Marital Debt Divided After a Divorce in Illinois?

While the initial focus of marital property is typically on identifying and making sure that a spouse receives his or her share of the marital assets, an equally important aspect of property division is who will be liable for the marital debt.

If you and your spouse have joint credit cards, you will both be legally liable for payment of this debt.  The credit card companies will not recognize an agreement between spouses whereby one spouse agrees to pay off the credit cards.  If there is a default, the credit card companies will seek to collect from both spouses, regardless of any agreement.

It is important when dividing marital assets to determine how debt will be discharged (or paid).  While a divorce settlement does not relieve a spouse from liability against the credit card company, a spouse will have legal rights against the other spouse if the other spouse does not make any payments required under the divorce settlement. As an experienced Illinois marital debt lawyer, I can evaluate the facts of your case and assist in seeking a fair debt-repayment strategy that supports your objectives and best interests.

What Types of Debts are Part of a Marital Estate?

The debt that either spouse acquired prior to marriage is typically considered individual debt. Alternatively, any financial or debt obligation arising between the date of marriage and the filing of divorce is typically considered marital debt, including for example:

  • Automobile financing
  • Home mortgage debt
  • Hospital and medical bills
  • Student loans
  • Credit card balances
  • Jointly owned business debt
  • Outstanding investment debt
  • Any other debt acquired during the duration of a marriage

Property Division Can Be Difficult – Schedule A Free Consultation With Experienced Marital Asset and Debt Division Lawyer James Teeter.

The simplest asset and debt division solutions usually arise when spouses are able to resolve their debts entirely or collectively divide debt before a divorce. However, it is not always possible to make such arrangements, especially in highly contentious or emotionally charged divorces.

When dividing debt and assets in an Illinois divorce, Courts strive to achieve equitable distribution. This means that the marital estate is divided fairly based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Each spouse’s financial condition (including assets and earning potential);
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The parties’ age and health;
  • Any financial assistance provided by either spouse to the other spouse;
  • Spousal maintenance; and
  • Child support obligations.

If you are contemplating divorce and have questions about the division of marital assets or debt, I invite you to call my office to schedule a complimentary, no obligation consultation. As an experienced Rockford divorce attorney, I can listen to the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and tenaciously fight in seeking the best possible outcome for you and your family.

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