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What is Separate Property in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on March 14, 2024 in Property Division

IL divorce lawyerYour separate, or non-marital, property is made up of the things that you own yourself, and your spouse does not have a claim to if you get divorced. There are a few limited categories of non-marital property in Illinois. Your income and the things you used your income to purchase for the benefit of the marriage or your family are not separate property and will be subject to equitable division during divorce. Generally, each spouse’s income and the assets they put it towards are considered marital property. Otherwise, a stay-at-home parent or disabled spouse could be left with nothing after getting divorced. A Batavia, IL divorce attorney can help you identify what separate property you own.

Categories of Separate Property in Illinois

Your non-marital property might include:

  • Assets you owned before marriage - Marital property is defined as almost anything either spouse acquires after getting married. Any property you owned before you got married is likely not marital property. For example, if you owned some jewelry before your wedding, that jewelry is not considered a marital asset. However, if you contributed the assets to the marriage’s needs, they may have been converted into marital assets. For example, if you sold the jewelry and put the money toward a downpayment on a house, you cannot claim the proceeds as separate property. However, if you put the proceeds from the sale into your own personal account, those funds might be your separate property.
  • Gifts made to you personally - If you received a gift for yourself, such as a birthday present meant just for you, that is your separate property. Gifts like housewarming presents meant for you both to enjoy are likely marital property. 
  • Inheritances - If you inherited money or property and were the only one named in the will or trust, the inheritance is yours to keep. It is presumed that your loved one wanted you, not your spouse, to benefit from their gift. 
  • Property set aside in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement - If you have a marital agreement, you may have agreed that certain assets belong only to you or only to your spouse. Drastically unfair agreements that would leave you with no way to support yourself may not be enforced. 
  • Money from legal judgments - If you won a settlement or judgment in a personal injury lawsuit, those funds are likely yours, not your spouse’s.

Although not specifically set aside as separate property, your personal effects, like your clothes and beauty products, will almost always be yours to keep during the equitable division process.

Contact a Kane County, IL Divorce Attorney

Van Larson Law, P.C., is committed to protecting our clients’ property during divorce. Our experienced Batavia, IL divorce lawyers will work to ensure that you keep what is yours during equitable division. Contact us at 630-879-9090 for a complimentary consultation.

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