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In Illinois, what happens to your property in a divorce?

If you’ve decided to get divorced, you may be wondering what will happen to your property. Today we answer some fundamental questions surrounding property ownership and division in Illinois:

Can I sell my property?

If you and your spouse have decided to part ways, you can’t transfer ownership of your property to prevent your spouse from accessing it. From the moment you file for divorce, a stay goes into effect, which prohibits you from selling or giving away any of your property unless the court or your spouse explicitly agrees to it.

What is marital property?

In the eyes of the court, there are two types of property to be considered in the event of a divorce: marital and non-marital. Any non-marital property you have is yours to keep. For marital property, the court will decide how the property will be divvied up.

As a general rule, any property acquired while a couple was married is considered marital property—and both parties may have a claim to it in a divorce. Documentation indicating ownership by one party doesn’t make the property non-marital. It doesn’t matter if your beloved Porsche GT3 only has your name on the tile, and you’re the only one who drives it. If you bought it while you were married, your spouse could have a claim to it.

How is marital property divided?

In Illinois, property isn’t necessarily divided down the middle, 50-50. Instead, it’s divided in whatever way the court deems fair. The court considers outside factors in deciding what property division arrangement is equitable. It may consider, for example, how long you were married or the individual economic circumstances of each spouse.

Property division is just one subject that can lead to stress and anxiety in a divorce. It can make you feel like you don’t have much control over your future. For this reason, it’s important to have an experienced divorce attorney to advocate on your behalf.