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Transmutation of marital property into separate property

Finding a couple that keeps all their property separate during marriage might be nearly impossible. Generally speaking, married couples tend to lean more toward co-mingling assets and property while their marriage remains on good terms.

When divorce or separation is on the horizon, many couples will begin to reaffirm their separate financial identities by getting separate bank accounts and credit cards. When the marriage ends, these assets may easily be divided. However, other marital property that started out as or was acquired through separate means may not be as easily divided. Fortunately for couples looking to recoup their investment, certain marital property can go through the process of transmutation to be turned back into separate property.

Transmutation is the legal term for making separate property, marital property. In Illinois, transmutation can go both ways and make marital property separate again. This may be beneficial to individuals that have sunk a substantial amount of money, inherited or otherwise separate, into co-mingled or jointly owned assets. This would be the case with a home purchased before marriage but paid for after marriage through the assets in a jointly owned account. Both spouses have been paying for the home which, after a while, turned the separate property into marital property.

In the event a divorcing spouse wishes to recoup separate property from marital property, they may use the law of transmutation to request a right of reimbursement. If approved by the family court judge, this would recoup for the original purchaser the funds used prior to the marriage to purchase the home.

Transmutation of marital property to separate property can be a tricky process that may require the help of a skilled divorce attorney. To recoup separate property or assets that were co-mingled with a spouse, get the help of an attorney skilled in areas of divorce and property division.

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Goddard & Malmquist

Goddard & Malmquist
1250 South Grove Avenue
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Barrington, IL 60010

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