When you received your inheritance, it was a windfall for your family. However, now that you and your spouse are getting an Illinois divorce, you face the fear that your spouse will take half and leave you with little to live on. The legal team at Essig Law Office often helps people understand how property division works, and what assets may be safe from a spouse.
The key to keeping your inheritance revolves around what you did with it when you first received it. Forbes magazine explains that at that point, it was separate property, and not subject to division. If you continued to keep it separate from the finances of the household, then it is still not subject to division. On the other hand, if you deposited the assets in joint accounts or used them to buy a home or other purchase that was shared, then the inheritance became marital property.
Fortunately, Illinois is not a community property state. Assets are divided equitably, which means a judge gets to decide what is fair. While there are common factors that courts typically consider, the judge has quite a bit of discretion in evaluating the unique aspects of your case and determining the outcome. Ultimately, how much of your inheritance you get to keep may come down to how long you have been married, the size of the marital estate, the financial needs of you and your spouse, your ages and health, and your income earning potential.
More information about separate and marital property is available on our webpage.