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How Are Commingled Assets Addressed in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorney property division

In many marriages, “yours” and “mine” can become “ours” in regard to property and debt. Marriage is as much a financial partnership as it is a romantic relationship, and undoing those financial ties in a divorce may be a complicated process. Property division becomes especially challenging when there is a question as to what property should be classified as marital property and what should be deemed nonmarital property. When marital and nonmarital property is commingled, determining a fair and reasonable property division arrangement during divorce can be very difficult, and it is crucial to receive assistance from a qualified divorce attorney.

Understanding Equitable Distribution

Not every state has the same laws about how marital property is dealt with during divorce. Some states use a property division method called “community property," in which a married couple’s estate will be divided 50/50. Illinois, on the other hand, is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that if a divorcing couple cannot agree on how to divide their assets, the court will divide the assets according to equitable distribution rules. Illinois courts divide property in a way that is reasonable and fair based on each spouse’s health, employability, financial circumstances, needs, and other factors.

According to Illinois law, only the marital estate is divided in an Illinois divorce. Nonmarital property includes "separate" property that a spouse acquired before getting married, as well as certain inheritances and gifts, and it is not divided during a divorce. Determining whether certain assets should be classified as marital property or nonmarital property is an issue that causes major conflict in many divorce cases.

Commingled Assets Can Lose Their Identity

When marital assets and nonmarital assets are mixed or “commingled,” determining whether the asset should be considered part of the marital estate and subject to division becomes more challenging. Commingled assets can lose their identity as nonmarital property and be changed or “transmuted” into marital property. Consider the following example: Before getting married, a man deposits several thousand dollars into a savings account. These funds were acquired before the marriage, so the money is considered nonmarital. However, if the man then transfers the funds into a shared savings account with his wife, these funds become marital property and are subject to division during divorce. There are also situations in which property, such as a house that one spouse bought prior to the wedding, may be considered marital property if both spouses lived in it and contributed to maintaining and improving it throughout the marriage.  

Contact a Western Springs Divorce Lawyer

If you are considering ending your marriage, it is important to know that only marital property is subject to division in an Illinois divorce. However, property can lose its identity as a nonmarital asset if it has been commingled with marital property during the marriage. To learn more about property division during divorce, contact Botti Marinaccio, LTD. Schedule a confidential consultation with our experienced Cook County family law attorneys to make sure your rights are protected during the proceedings. Call us today at 630-575-8585.




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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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