In any divorce case, there are important financial issues to be determined. The spouses’ assets and debts will need to be identified, classified, valued, and divided. Spouses may also be subject to child support and spousal support obligations.
If you are getting divorced, you may have questions about how your money and property will be dealt with. Specifically, you may wonder whether assets you received through inheritance are subject to division. Typically, inheritance is not divided between spouses in an Illinois divorce. However, as with many financial concerns during divorce, the answer is not always this straightforward.
Marital Versus Non-Marital Property
In Illinois, property in a divorce falls into one of two categories: marital property and non-marital property. Marital property belongs to both spouses while non-marital property only belongs to one spouse. Typically, any asset or debt that a spouse earns during the marriage is classified as marital property. However, inheritance is an exception to this rule.
When someone receives an inheritance, it is usually considered to be a non-marital asset. This means that the spouse who received the inheritance does not have to share the inheritance with his or her spouse during a divorce. However, this is only true if the spouse took the correct steps to keep the non-marital inheritance separate from marital assets. If property acquired by inheritance is mixed with other types of property, the situation becomes much more complicated.
Commingled Property in an Illinois Divorce
When marital and non-marital property is mixed together or “commingled,” the property can lose its identity as either marital or non-marital. Inheritance assets that are commingled with marital assets may become marital property.
Consider an example: John receives $20,000 in inheritance money when his grandfather passes away. He puts it in a joint checking account he shares with his wife, Jane. When John and Jane later divorce, the entire bank account balance is divided equitably between the spouses. If John had kept the money separately, it would likely be considered non-marital property to which he alone would be entitled. However, because it was placed in a joint account, both spouses are entitled to a portion of the funds.
Another example of commingled assets occurs when a spouse inherits a house. The house is non-marital property because it was acquired through inheritance. However, if both spouses’ names are on the deed and both pay for maintenance or renovations, the house may be considered marital property during divorce. This means that both spouses would be entitled to an equitable share of the home’s value during property division.
Contact a Wheaton Property Division Lawyer
If you are getting divorced, contact the DuPage County divorce attorneys at Davi Law Group for help with property division, child custody, spousal maintenance, and more. Call 630-657-5052 for a free consultation.