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What is Non-Marital Property and How Does it Stay Non-Marital?


In divorce there are two types of property: Marital property and non-marital property. It’s obvious what marital property is: it’s all of the property both you and your spouse purchase or acquire together during your marriage. However, the guidelines for what makes property non-marital aren’t always as clear.

In this article, we discuss non-marital property in greater detail to help you protect what you have that is non-marital and are able to keep it after your divorce, without any claim from your spouse.

What Makes Property Non-Marital?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act defines eight forms of non-marital property, some of which include:

  1. Property acquired by gift, legacy or descent;
  2. Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage; and
  3. Property excluded by valid agreement between you and your spouse, often in a prenuptial or postnuptial arrangement;

Of course, there are others. However, this should give you a good idea of what kinds of property is at issue when the court is referencing non-marital property.

As you can imagine, non-marital property can become the subject of much dispute in a divorce proceeding. If you acquired property that you consider non-marital, but your spouse can form an argument for why it should be marital, you could potentially face costly and lengthy litigation on the issue.

How to Keep Non-Marital Property Non-Marital

It’s important for clarity and efficiency’s sake in divorce to keep your non-marital property as separate as is possible before the divorce. By doing so, you avoid the confusion and contentiousness that often follows when you fail to keep your non-marital property strictly non-marital.

The easiest way to do this is to create a postnuptial agreement verifying that property you receive is non-marital, though not all individuals are willing to do this. Thus, the best way to keep non-marital property non-marital is to prevent intermingling your non-marital property with marital property. For example, if you received a car as a gift, only you should use it. If you allow your spouse to use it as his or her car, the court may be more likely to view it as marital property.

Talk to Larry to Learn More About Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Distinguishing marital and non-marital property can be challenging. If you’re concerned that some of your non-marital property might be considered marital in your divorce, it’s best to talk to the experts at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.!

Larry has over 35 years of experience in divorce law and can offer the expertise and strategy you need to keep what is rightfully yours. Contact Larry today at 630-470-9990 to take advantage of your free consultation! Or, if you prefer, request a free, in-office consultation here!

We look forward to providing the assistance and support you need during your case!

Concentrated on Family Law

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

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About Attorney Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

We continue to work with clients in Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Oswego, Downers Grove, and the surrounding areas to provide one-on-one support and attention that will help you through this difficult time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to offering our expertise and support to you throughout your case and after.