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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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