Is Your Marital Home Automatically Marital Property?
When you got married, did you and your new spouse move into a home that one of your already owned or did you find a new house? Have you purchased a new home since your marriage? The answers to those two questions could directly impact the division of property process should you and your spouse ever divorce.
According to the law in Illinois, all assets that were owned by either spouse prior to the marriage are considered individual property, not subject to division upon divorce. Determining ownership is fairly easy for smaller items. For example, you paid cash for a washing machine; you own it. Larger purchases and investments are a bit more complicated. You made a $25,000 down payment on a house, for example, but you are only 15 years into a 30-year mortgage; technically, the mortgage lender still owns about half of the house.
If you and your spouse moved into a home that you had already paid off at the time of the marriage, the house, in all likelihood, would not be considered marital property. If, however, you were still paying the house off for the first several years of the marriage, the funds used to pay off the mortgage were marital funds. Thus, the house, or at least a portion of its value, must be accounted for during the division of property.
Name on the Deed
Assume that five years into your marriage, you and your spouse purchase a new home. For credit or business reasons, your spouse, with your permission, puts only his or her name on the deed. The mortgage is in his or her name, along with all other legal documentation. Do you stand to lose out in the event of divorce? No, you do not. Under Illinois law, it makes little difference whose name is on a particular note or title. If the purchase was made with marital funds—as in, you and your spouse’s biweekly checks being used to make mortgage payments—the house is part of the marital estate.
Responsible Answers to Your Property Division Questions
If you are considering a divorce and would like to know more about how Illinois law requires marital property to be divided, contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney. At the Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates, we realize that divorce law can be very complicated and we committed to helping you get in the information you need to make an informed decision. Call us today at 630-232-9700 and schedule your confidential consultation.