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Wheaton divorce attorneysThere are many reasons why people get divorced, and one of the most common is financial issues. Arguing over money or frivolous spending can cause a couple to grow apart. In some cases, it may destroy trust and result in the end of the marriage. During the divorce proceedings, anything the spouses owned together will need to be divided between the spouses. This is referred to as the division of marital assets and property. Certain assets might be in the form of retirement accounts, pension plans, or other investments acquired by one or both spouses. However, splitting these types of assets is not as easy as tangible items such as a house, furniture, or vehicles. The process can be complicated, so it is important to understand how they will be distributed according to Illinois divorce law.   

What Is “Equitable Distribution”?

In Illinois, marital property is just about anything the couple acquired during the time they were married. This is different from non-marital property, which are items or assets that one of the spouses owned prior to the marriage. Gifts and inheritance also fall into the non-marital or separate property category. 

Under Illinois law, “equitable distribution” in a divorce means that all the marital property will be divided between the spouses in a fair or equitable way, but not necessarily completely in half. Therefore, it is important to determine what portion of the retirement savings is considered to be marital property and subject to division during the divorce.


Wheaton divorce lawyersIn divorce law, the term “dissipation” is used to describe property which is wasted during the end of a marriage. With help from a qualified family law attorney, you may be able to be compensated for assets which your spouse dissipated before your marital property was formally divided during divorce. However, not all wasteful spending is considered dissipation. Only situations which meet certain criteria are considered dissipation, and it is important to understand what these criteria are. 

What Types of Spending Are Considered Dissipative?

Many individuals who are in the process of getting divorced have questions about their soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s financial responsibility. However, dissipation refers to a specific situation in which a spouse wastes, misuses, or destroys marital property. The Illinois Supreme Court has specified that dissipation is the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage.”

Dissipated assets include any money or property that was used for the benefit of one of the spouses but did not benefit the other spouse or the marriage in any way. Examples of dissipation may include:


Wheaton divorce attorneysWhen a couple divorces, they are separating in more ways than one. All of the assets that were acquired during the marriage have to be divided up. The “marital estate” can include monetary funds, as well as property such as a house, vehicles, plus personal possessions and gifts. Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, which means property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Gifts given between spouses or received from a third party can cause conflict when it comes to dividing assets during a divorce, especially in a contentious break-up. 

Marital Property Versus Non-Marital Property

Under Illinois law, marital property is property that was acquired during the marriage, and non-marital property is typically property a spouse had before the marriage or acquired during the marriage by inheritance or gift. Non-marital property is considered “separate property” of each spouse and marital property will be divided between the couple if they split up. In most scenarios, an asset given to one spouse by any third party is considered non-marital property. Gifts such as these can include jewelry, clothing, furniture, cash, vehicles, artwork, almost anything. However, the spouse claiming a gift as non-marital property may be required to prove in court that it was indeed a gift.

Gifts given between spouses throughout the marriage and before the couple parts ways are considered marital property that must be accounted for, valued, and distributed as part of the marital estate. The only exception to this rule is if someone claims it to be separate property of the recipient spouse. The spouse who claims that property acquired during the marriage is separate property must prove at least one of the following: 

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