A man showing sth to a couple

Divorce can create difficulties for couples dealing with real estate, debts and assets, and spousal maintenance issues. When children are involved, child custody lawyers are often required to handle disagreements with child custody and visitation rights.

Marital Property Laws in Illinois

According to Illinois divorce laws, all property that qualifies as “marital property” is subject to equitable distribution by the court. Marital property is defined as real property, and debts and assets that were acquired by either spouse after the marriage took place and prior to divorce. This includes any separate property or assets transferred into some form of co-ownership between the spouses. In Illinois, marital property is not determined by the name of the spouse that holds title to real property or debts and assets. Real estate, as well as debts and assets acquired during the marriage is considered “marital property” by Illinois courts, and both spouses have a legal interest. All marital property and marital obligations, including debt incurred during the marriage, is distributed according to Illinois equitable distribution rules.

When spouses commingle marital and separate property, division of debts and assets becomes complicated. It’s common for couples with joint bank accounts to commingle funds used for mortgage payments, household expenses, property repairs and maintenance, credit card payments, and children’s expenses. Commingling funds is common among many married couples, but without a prenuptial agreement that governs separate property, a divorce attorney may be necessary for legal division of debts and assets, and child custody lawyers may be necessary to establish child support and parental visitation.

Protect Your Rights

In Illinois, all debt belongs to both spouses as long as couples are still legally married, prior to finalizing a divorce. If one spouse is angry about the divorce and runs up substantial charges on a joint credit card, the other spouse may be responsible for half of the bill. When going through a divorce, each spouse should protect legal rights and responsibilities for debts incurred during the divorce process.

  • Document Expenditures – Keep a balance sheet outlining household expenses and any purchases made for the benefit of the family.
  • Close Joint Bank Accounts – Close joint accounts and open a separate bank account for income and other separate funds.
  • Close Joint Credit Cards – Transfer half of the balance on a joint credit card to an individual bank account or credit card account.