In Illinois, certain laws apply when dividing pensions and other types of monetary assets during a divorce. The laws only apply to marital property, which are the things a couple acquires during the course of their marriage. Non-marital property does not have to be divided. Non-marital property might be something received by one spouse as a gift or inheritance. A couple may also agree that some property won't be divided during their divorce.
We've been talking about marital and non-marital property and how the law deals with the division of property in a divorce or separation. When we left off in our last post, we were talking about property acquired before the marriage that increases in value during the marriage. Illinois courts must consider several factors in these matters, including the contribution each spouse made to the increase in value.
We've talked about the McCourt divorce before. The couple has been arguing over the ownership of the Dodgers baseball team that he, or they, acquired during their marriage. The case has involved conflicting contract language and months of court time. (The couple is in settlement talks at this writing.) When the ownership agreements between the husband and wife were thrown out, the court left the McCourts to figure out the division of property on their own.
Many parts of a divorce can feel like moving targets. We know that child custody agreements can be modified, and that spousal maintenance can be modified. One thing that's almost always permanent is the property division agreement. Naturally, property division arrangements are unique to each marriage. But, as with most things, if the parties can't decide, a judge will.