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What is Commingled Property in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on April 30, 2024 in Property Division

Wheaton, IL divorce lawyerUnder Illinois law, spouses who get divorced are entitled to marital property. Marital property refers to assets that were acquired during the marriage. Generally, if something was acquired by either spouse during the marriage, it becomes marital property and must be divided fairly in a divorce. If something was acquired by a spouse before the marriage, however, it is not divided.

There are some exceptions to this rule, such as commingled property. This article will discuss marital property and commingled property.

Because property division is a complex area of divorce law, any questions about marital property should be directed to a skilled divorce attorney in Illinois.

What is Marital Property?

Illinois law defines marital property as anything that was acquired during the marriage, for example:

  • The family home

  • Retirement accounts

  • Vehicles

Exceptions to this rule include:

  • Inheritances

  • Gifts for one spouse exclusively

  • Property acquired during the marriage in exchange for property that was acquired before the marriage

  • Property that was acquired during the marriage by using non-marital property as collateral

What is Commingled Property?

Property acquired by a spouse before marriage is considered non-marital property and belongs to that spouse alone. If, however, that property became “commingled”, or mixed in with, property belonging to the other spouse, it may be considered a marital asset. For example:

  • If you place inheritance money in a joint checking account with your spouse, those funds are commingled.

  • If you merge your business with your spouse’s business, the business is considered commingled.

  • If you make mortgage payments on a non-marital home using joint funds, the home becomes commingled.

  • If you have an investment account before the marriage and use it to invest joint funds during the marriage, it is commingled property.

Whether commingled property becomes marital property or not has a lot to do with the property’s identity. If the non-marital asset retains its original identity, then it may not be considered marital property. For example, if you merge a business with your spouse’s business and the new business takes on a new name and identity, it is now marital property.

What About Contributions?

Sometimes, the property becomes commingled because one spouse contributes to the non-marital property. For example, if one spouse owned a business before marriage but the other spouse contributed to it during the marriage and helped it increase in value, it is commingled property but not necessarily marital property. In that case, the spouse who owns the business might have to reimburse the other spouse but would not have to divide the business in a divorce.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyer

Dividing assets in a divorce is a complicated procedure. Whether an asset is considered commingled or marital is subject to fine legal nuances. That is why you should consult with a DuPage County, Illinois divorce attorney who is well-versed in asset division. At Davi Law Group, we are highly experienced in property valuation and division and will aggressively defend your interests. Call 630-657-5052 for a free consultation today.

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