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Marital property: what you should know

The decision to end a marriage is certainly not one to be taken lightly. There are far-reaching emotional and financial consequences for both the spouses and their children. And, as hard as it is to come to that decision, the process that comes after can often be even more complex. Issues of alimony, child custody, child support and property division are almost always contentious and can lead to drawn-out court battles and a fair share of acrimony.

With that in mind, there are some things you can do to make the division of property a little less complicated, though not all of these will apply to everyone. You should:

  • If you haven't married yet, think about a prenuptial agreement. Prenups can set aside which property belongs to each partner in the event of a split. Even if you have tied the knot, you can still get a postnuptial.
  • Make sure you are keeping accurate records of everything you want kept separately, including inheritances or things you had before the marriage.
  • Know that any property that goes up in value during the marriage could be treated as marital property.
  • Be aware of commingling. When you add your assets or property to property or accounts that are considered marital property, the previously non-marital property can become marital property.
  • Don't use your marital money to buy things that you would like to be considered non-marital property.

As you can see, these issues can get complex and the information above just scratches the surface. A family law attorney can listen to your situation and may be able to help you protect some of your assets.

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Goddard & Malmquist
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Barrington, IL 60010

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