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What is Commingled Property in an Illinois Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

arlington heights divorce lawyerDividing marital assets between a divorcing couple is often one of the most complex and difficult aspects of the divorce process. Couples who cannot reach an agreement during the property division process may find themselves involved in a contentious litigation process.

One common disagreement occurs when determining whether an asset is owned individually by one spouse or belongs to both spouses in the form of marital property. Complex and illiquid assets such as real estate, pensions, investment accounts, businesses, and vehicles could all be considered either marital or nonmarital property, depending on when they were acquired. An asset that began as nonmarital property may become marital property through a process known as “commingling.”

What is Commingled Property? 

Only marital property is subject to division in a divorce. This includes both assets and debts that you, your spouse, or both of you together acquired during your marriage. However, even if an asset was acquired during the marriage, that does not necessarily make it marital property. For example, an asset acquired during the marriage could be considered nonmarital property if it was:

  • Given as a gift to one spouse

  • Inherited by one spouse

  • Acquired in exchange for assets one spouse owned prior to the marriage

  • Excluded from marital property because of a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

However, an asset that was once nonmarital property can become marital property if it is mixed with other marital property. It is then considered to be “commingled.” 

For example, if one spouse sold a nonmarital piece of property during the marriage, then took the proceeds and placed them in a shared marital checking account, the funds and anything purchased with them would be considered marital property and subject to division in a divorce. 

Another example is that of a small business owner who gets married and whose spouse then begins to work for the business. If the spouse’s labor helps to increase the value of the business throughout the marriage, the increase in value becomes marital property and is subject to division. 

Speak with an Arlington Heights Divorce Attorney

Understanding how property is categorized into marital or nonmarital property can be confusing, and the financial stakes for getting it wrong can be high. The attorneys at A. Traub & Associates have experience handling complex marital asset division and will advocate on your behalf to make sure you get the share of assets to which you are entitled. Do not leave your financial future to chance; work with a skilled Cook County divorce attorney. Contact us today at 847-749-4182 and schedule your confidential consultation. 




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