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Are inherited assets considered a marital asset in Illinois?

Getting a divorce in Illinois can be a complex and challenging legal situation. Different states have different laws when it comes to divorce and separation, especially regarding property distribution. 

All U.S states follow either a community or equitable property distribution approach. Illinois follows an equitable approach to dividing marital assets.

Marital assets include anything acquired after the date of marriage regardless of whose name it is in, with a few exceptions, such as:

  • property acquired before the marriage and not put into joint ownership;
  • property acquired by gift or inheritance and not put into joint ownership; or
  • property to remain in one party’s name by a pre or post nuptial agreement.

In community property states, everything acquired during the marriage is usually split equally. In Illinois, a court can split property equally or can award different amounts (ownership interest) as it may determine to be fair and equitable.

But are inherited assets considered a marital asset in Illinois? 

The short answer is no, inherited assets would be nonmarital property unless they are co-mingled (putting them into joint ownership with your spouse). From our team of Diamond Divorce lawyers in McHenry, Illinois, here’s a closer look at what this means for you and your spouse.

Marital Property and Separate Property

Marital property refers to all assets that a couple earns or acquires during their marriage, including:

  • Trains, Planes, and Automobiles (yes we did that on purpose…)
  • Real Estate
  • Pets
  • Jewelry
  • Money
  • Pensions, IRAs, 401k, Employment Benefits
  • Stocks and Bonds
  • Businesses

Marital Property can also include debts and other obligations, that either spouse acquires during the marriage. 

Everything that a person owns before their marriage –including property they received as a gift or  inherited — is separate (non-marital) property. This property type is not divided and is retained by the person who owns it. 

Some examples of non-marital property are:

  • a gift or an inheritance from a third party,
  • a gift between spouses, or
  • property converted to non-marital property by legal agreement.

Note that any gift or inheritance received by any of the two spouses should be documented. So when the court asks, they should be able to show their legal ownership of their separate assets on paper.

If I Inherit Money, is it Marital or Non-Marital Property?

If you get the money and keep it separate from other money it will usually remain non-marital property. 

If you commingle it by either putting it in a joint account or mixing it with marital funds, it may become marital property.

Here is the list of things that can potentially turn your non-marital property into a marital property:

  • Depositing your inheritance money or money received as a gift in a joint bank account with your spouse.
  • Taking out a mortgage as a couple on non-marital real estate. 
  • Re-titling things to be in both names.

Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney Today

Whether or not you have proof of your non-marital assets, our attorneys at Diamond Divorce Law are ready to dedicate ourselves to your cause. We’ve helped clients navigate divorce and all the family law difficulties that go with it for decades, and we’re ready to help you. Contact us today to get started.


DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes. While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, I always urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.

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