For high-asset couples, it may be beneficial to know that Illinois is not a community property state. Determining what property falls under marital vs. separate can be a challenge. Understanding the difference can help you better assess what is subject to splitting during divorce and what is yours to keep.

Illinois legislative document 750 ILCS 5/503 section defines both marital and non-marital property. Debts, obligations and property acquired following the start of the marriage counts as marital property. Non-marital property includes any property excluded due to legal agreements such as a premarital agreement, gifts, anything acquired after a legal separation judgment and property acquired before the marriage.

The court may scrutinize each piece of property to determine how to classify it. Keep in mind a piece of property owned prior to marriage that then features the spouse’s name on it as co-owner becomes marital property. The spouse must show clear proof that they owned the property prior to marriage or acquired it after a legal separation judgment.

SmartAsset states that the spouse must have grounds to legally file for divorce such as impotency, habitual drunkenness or felony conviction. Once a party has successfully filed for divorce, the couple then works to divide assets after classifying all property as marital or non-marital. The court takes marital property and divides it based on equitable distribution.

The court decides who gets what and how much based on factors such as the marriage length, each spouse’s economic conditions projections and contributions to the property. The court may grant a lower-earning spouse more of the marital assets because economic conditions play a larger role in the division of assets.