Getting a divorce does not necessarily require married couples to divide everything that they own right down the middle. The only property that couples need to divide when they get a divorce in Illinois is marital property.
Property that people own separately typically remains theirs after a divorce. Here are a few factors that bear on whether something is marital or separate property.
1. Assets acquired during a marriage are usually marital
Even if just one spouse gets something, the other spouse may have an ownership interest. Regardless of who makes a purchase or who has the title, property that people acquire during the course of a marriage is likely to be marital rather than separate.
2. There is an exception for gifts
Gifts that people receive during a marriage are generally not marital property. When one spouse gives a gift to another, the recipient has sole ownership. However, it is important to note that a gift may become the property of both spouses if they use it together rather than exclusively.
3. Unvested interests may be divisible
Future interests and non-liquid assets such as a retirement savings account or a pension may be marital property. A spouse could be eligible to receive the value of his or her interest in this type of asset at the time of divorce or it may be necessary to wait until it is accessible.
Dividing property is one of the first steps of getting a divorce. If divorcing couples can mutually agree on property division, it could make navigating the rest of the process a lot easier.