When two people get married, they combine their lives as well as their possessions. “Yours” and “mine” becomes “ours.” This can make it very difficult to determine who owns what during a divorce. If you or your spouse own jewelry, you may wonder how this particular type of asset is dealt with during an Illinois divorce. Jewelry can not only have great financial value, it often has tremendous sentimental value as well. Asset division can be tricky and determining ownership of a piece of jewelry is not always easy. Read on to learn more.
Marital and Non-Marital Property
In an Illinois divorce, marital property typically includes property that was obtained between the start of the marriage and the separation or divorce. However, it is not always this straightforward. If a spouse acquired a piece of jewelry through an inheritance, it does not matter when he or she inherited the asset, it is a non-marital asset. For example, if your mother passed away and you inherited her wedding rings, the rings belong solely to you.
On the other hand, if you purchased a diamond ring at some point during the marriage, this may be considered a marital asset even if you used your own money to buy it.
The situation becomes even more complex when gifts are involved. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that property acquired by gift is considered non-marital property. So, if a husband gives a wife a diamond bracelet for an anniversary present, she may have sole ownership of the bracelet in the context of divorce. However, if there is a dispute about ownership of the gift, she may be expected to prove that the bracelet was a gift.
Equitable Division of Marital Property
When property is considered marital property, it means that both spouses have a right to a share of the property’s value. If a piece of jewelry is considered a marital asset, the spouses have a few different options. They can sell the jewelry and split the profits. Alternatively, one spouse can keep the jewelry and the other spouse can keep assets of equal value. Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to get the jewelry professionally appraised so that the couple knows what it is worth before addressing it during asset division.
If the spouses cannot reach a decision about the division of property in their divorce, the court may need to step in and make a decision for them. Illinois courts follow a legal doctrine called equitable distribution when dividing marital property during a divorce. Property is divided fairly, but this does not always mean that both spouses will get exactly the same amount of property. Factors including each spouse’s contribution to the increased value of the marital estate, the standard of living during the marriage, and the length of the marriage can all factor into the court’s decision.
Contact our Kane County Divorce Lawyers
If you are getting divorced and have questions or concerns about the division of assets during your divorce, we can help. Call our skilled St. Charles divorce attorneys at [[phone]] for a free consultation.