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Court rules against dividing real estate as marital property

The Fifth District Appellate court made an interesting ruling concerning marital property division recently, rejecting a man's plea that two pieces of real estate bought by his former spouse before their divorce be considered marital property. While many people assume that the law favors dividing property bought in the course of a marriage equally, the court is generally willing to hear arguments that certain property be excluded from division, if the evidence is clear enough.

In the case of this couple, the evidence was clear enough for several courts to determine that the man did not have a proper claim to either of the two pieces of real estate — but only because his former spouse demonstrated very clearly that he had nothing to do with their purchase.

The property in question was purchased during the couple's marriage, but was done so solely with funds from the wife's family, which she deposited into an account separate from her joint marital accounts before purchasing the property.

According to both the lower and appellate courts, the careful action of the wife to keep the funds and property separate from her marriage was sufficient to prove that the property was not, in fact, up for division. The man was unable to provide adequate proof that homes should qualify as marital property, and his claim was rejected by both courts that heard the case.

If you are approaching a divorce, or are in the middle of one, you may have complex property division issues that arise. With proper legal counsel from an experienced attorney, you can ensure that your rights remain secure as you fight to keep your property from unfair division in divorce negotiations.

Source: Madison County Record, "Ex-husband's appeal to have properties declared marital property denied," Kristin Regula, May 25, 2017

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