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Protecting Premarital Property in Divorce

 Posted on April 04, 2024 in Property Division

IL divorce lawyerDivorce can be complicated if one spouse entered the marriage with significant assets while the other came into the marriage largely empty-handed. If you had built up wealth before you got married, you likely have a strong interest in protecting what was yours before the marriage. Fortunately, in Illinois, assets you owned before you were married are considered your separate property. However, your spouse could argue that you voluntarily contributed your premarital property to the marriage, which could entitle him or her to a share of those assets. If you had personal wealth before your marriage began, it is important to speak to a skilled DuPage County, IL divorce attorney about how you can protect what is rightfully yours during the asset division process.

Common Types of Premarital Assets and Their Legal Status

Common types of premarital assets people seek to protect during divorce include:

  • Retirement saving accounts - If you began a career before marriage and started making contributions to a 401(k), you are usually entitled to keep the pre-marital share. However, if you made withdrawals from this account to contribute to marital needs, your spouse may have some entitlement to the assets purchased with those funds.
  • A business or professional practice - Your corporation itself is likely to remain your property. However, if your business increased in value during the marriage, your spouse may be entitled to benefit from that appreciation. This is because the law considers your spouse to have contributed to your career pursuits even if he or she did not directly become involved at your company. 
  • Real estate - If you owned the house you lived in with your spouse before getting married, you are likely the sole owner. However, if your spouse made contributions that increased the value of your home, he or she may be able to claim money or other property as reimbursement for his or her contributions. For example, if your spouse helped build an addition to your home and its value increased as a result, your spouse may be able to recoup his or her share of the increased value.  
  • Savings - If you had a savings account before the marriage and kept that account separate from your marital finances, the account may be yours alone. However, this situation is fairly uncommon. If you added your spouse to that account or withdrew money to cover marital expenses, some of those funds may be considered marital property. 

Distinguishing separate property from marital property is not always clear-cut and generally requires the skill of an attorney.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Asset Division Lawyer 

Law Office of Ronald L. Hendrix, P.C. is committed to helping married people protect their premarital assets during divorce. Our experienced father-son team of Naperville, IL divorce attorneys will do all we can to guard your personal assets. Contact us at 630-355-7776 for a complimentary consultation.

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