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How to Protect Your Personal Property During Divorce

Illinois recognizes two different types of property during divorce: common law property and personal property. Like most states, Illinois determines that any assets acquired by one spouse during a marriage are the property of that particular spouse. For example, if one spouse purchases a car and places it solely in their name, then Illinois law states that the car belongs to them. However, were they to purchase the car using both of their names, then it would be considered to belong to both spouses and need to be divided during a divorce.

So knowing this is how laws work in our state, how can you ensure you protect your personal property to avoid the risk of losing it? Here are a few simple tips you can follow.

Gather Evidence to Prove Ownership

If you are without a doubt the sole owner of an important asset, then you can support your claim of ownership with documentation that proves you are the sole owner of it. In the previously listed example of the car, a spouse who produces registration paperwork or a bill of sale showing that it was purchased by one spouse and is solely in their name, then they can claim ownership of it. However, if the other spouse can show that it was purchased using money that both of them earned, then the claim to ­–ownership can get a little murky.

Keep a Detailed List of Assets

Knowing what assets you have as a married couple can really come in handy should you ever choose to split up. Keeping a constantly-updated list of important assets along with who owns what can help you quickly and easily determine the owner of any separate property and which assets are in fact mutually-owned and need to go through the division process. Keeping a historical record of these lists can also help in order to show whether or not any discrepancies have emerged.

Know What Debts You Have Accumulated

Debts are as important to track as assets. If one spouse decides to go on a spending spree with a shiny new credit card, it’s important to keep track of who acquired that debt since it was not done mutually and therefore should be treated as a separate possession. For example, if both spouses sign on to a mortgage loan for a family home, then the mortgage is a mutually-shared debt. However, a spouse who buys a car on their own with their own money and in their own name should inherit that debt on their own as well.

For more information or help with equally dividing your property during a divorce, speak with an Illinois divorce lawyer from Wakenight & Associates, P.C. today.


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