Dupage County Lawyers

DuPage County Marital Property Division Lawyers


Property division can be one of the most heated topics related to divorce. It is always best when divorcing spouses can agree on how to divide their property, but if they cannot agree, the Circuit Court will have to divide the marital estate.  In the meantime, once a spouse files for divorce, the court automatically prohibits both spouses from disposing of property without the permission of the court or the other spouse.

Divorce, dividing property, and other family law issues are emotionally charged issues that are life-changing for everyone involved.  In order to avoid making costly mistakes, it makes sense to consult an experienced family law attorney to help you through this difficult time.

The seasoned and compassionate Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. have extensive experience in handling complicated divorce and property division issues, and we work to clarify and resolve the issues in the most effective and efficient manner. We offer a free consultation to help you find the best solution for your individual situation.  Call us today for your free consultation at 630-305-0222 or contact us online.

Equitable Distribution

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means property may not be divided equally.  Instead, the court will divide marital property in what it feels is a fair and just manner, based on the individual circumstances. To do this, Illinois law considers factors such as:

  • the length of the marriage;
  • the economic circumstances of each spouse, their contribution to the increase or decrease in value of property, and the contribution as a homemaker or to the family unit;
  • the value of the property assigned to each spouse;
  • obligations from a prior marriage;
  • the age, health, occupation, and skills of the parties;
  • the custody provisions for children and whether there is to be alimony;
  • any prenuptial agreement;
  • the tax consequences of the property division;
  • any wasting or hiding of assets;
  • the opportunity to earn income and acquire assets in the future.

In Illinois, marital misconduct, such as having an affair, does not affect property division. However, if your spouse engaged in financial misconduct that wasted marital assets, you may be entitled to reimbursement.

Marital and Non-Marital Property

During the divorce proceedings, the court will categorize your property as either marital or separate property.  It will then assign a monetary value on the marital property and debt before determining the equitable distribution.

Marital property – is any property a spouse or couple acquires during marriage, from the day of the wedding and up to a divorce judgment.  It also includes non-marital property that has been transferred into co-ownership.  Marital property is the only property Illinois courts have authority to divide in divorce.

Non-marital property, or separate property –is any property acquired before marriage and subsequently brought into the marriage.  It is owned solely by one spouse or the other, and it cannot be divided by the courts in a divorce.

Examples of non-marital property include:

  • property acquired before the marriage or by gift or inheritance, or acquired in exchange for this property;
  • property acquired by a spouse after a judgment of legal separation;
  • property excluded by a prenuptial agreement or other valid agreement;
  • the increase in value of any non-marital property during the marriage, or income from any non-marital property, if the income is not attributable to personal effort of a spouse.

Commingled Property

Deciding whether property is marital or separate becomes more difficult if spouses have mixed or commingled their assets.

Common examples of commingling include putting money earned before marriage into a joint account, paying the mortgage and maintenance jointly on a house owned by one spouse before marriage, or putting inherited money into a joint bank account.  Unless these funds can be traced to their original separate source, the chances are the court will find the entire account is marital property and will divide it accordingly.

If the funds were used to pay family expenses, it is considered as a gift to the marriage and is known as transmutation, even if the transmuted funds came from a separate source, and will be considered as marital property.

Our attorneys can explain how these property laws apply to your divorce.

Property To Divide

Dividing property during a divorce can be complicated. In certain cases, one spouse may have hidden assets; and when a spouse is self-employed, it may be more difficult to divide property. Our attorneys can assist clients in even the most complex marital property issues, including the proper valuation and allocation of the following types of property:

  • Houses
  • Bank accounts
  • Automobiles
  • Retirement funds
  • Other financial assets (IRAs, stocks, bonds, etc.)
  • Worker’s compensation awards
  • Personal injury awards
  • Medical malpractice awards.

The Marital Home

Equity in the marital home — the current market value of the house at the time of separation, less any debts or liens against it — is often one of the biggest assets of a marriage. Options in dividing home equity may mean:

  • selling the home and dividing the proceeds;
  • one spouse refinances the home and buys out the other;
  • one spouse remains in the home for a period of time, then buys out the other spouse or sells the home and divides the proceeds.

Contact Us For Help

Laws relating to division of property can be difficult to interpret, and making a mistake could mean returning to court and costly battles that adversely affect you and your children. Fortunately, there is help available, and you may find comfort in knowing a lawyer is on your side. The seasoned Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec handle all divorce cases with sensitivity, respect, and discretion.

At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., we made our reputation one client at a time, and we put every ounce of our ability into every case. There are no ready-made solutions in divorce and family law – every case needs to be considered on its own merit. Our lawyers take the time to delve deeply into the problem and to understand your goals and concerns. Then we develop a legal strategy designed to achieve those objectives and allow you to keep as many marital assets as possible.

There is no charge for the first consultation. Delaying can only complicate your situation and make matters worse. Call us today for your free consultation at 630-305-0222 or contact our team online.