When considering marital assets that get divided during a divorce, most people think of houses, cars, bank accounts, and retirement accounts. However, there are actually many more assets that divorcing couples may have to figure out how to divide. Sometimes, these odd assets can be forgotten about when couples focus on more obvious and expensive assets, but taking care of the division of these assets early on can save a headache in the future.
Marital and Non-Marital Property
The first step in dividing any assets in a marriage is determining which assets can actually be divided. Anything deemed marital property is subject to division; anything deemed non-marital property is not. In the state of Illinois, the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act dictates what is marital and non-marital property. Marital property is defined as any property, including debts or other obligations, that was acquired by either spouse during the marriage–anything else is non-marital property.
Types of Unusual Divorce Assets
When it comes to assets in a divorce, there are two types: tangible and intangible assets.
Tangible Divorce Assets
These types of divorce assets are the kind that are physically present–assets you can see and touch. Examples of unusual tangible assets include:
- Gifts given during the marriage: Gifts given before you were married, such as an engagement ring, are not subject to division. However, other significant gifts that spouses give to each other while they were married are up for grabs.
- Pets or other animals: Prior to 2018, pets were thought of as property and were divided as such. Now, Illinois law states that ownership of non-service animals should be based on the animals’ best interests.
- Collections or memorabilia: Collections of items such as comic books, coins, stamps, books, art, or antiques can be of significant value. If the items were acquired during the marriage, they can be subject to division between the two spouses.
- Photographs: A lot of photos can be easily duplicated and shared thanks to technology. If you have photographs or negatives that need to be divided, making copies of them can become costly.
Intangible Divorce Assets
Intangible assets are those that you cannot necessarily see or touch, but are still real. Examples of these types of assets include:
- Frequent flyer miles: If you have frequent flyer miles or other travel rewards that you received during the marriage, they can be assets that you should divide. The money that was spent earning these rewards was shared money between both spouses and should be considered accordingly.
- Tax losses and carryovers: With these assets, an accountant can help hash out the details. Tax losses and carryovers can mean less tax liability, so determining who gets to pay less is important.
- Digital music or movies: Due to copyright laws, you cannot share or make copies of movies or music that were purchased in a digital format. Because of this, you will probably need to determine who gets exactly what.
- Intellectual property: Intellectual property encompasses copyrights, patents, trademarks, and royalty rights. These can be worth significant money, so it is important to distribute them accordingly.
Get Help From an Elmhurst Divorce Lawyer
Dividing marital assets can be tricky and confusing, especially when it comes to unusual assets for which ownership is not obvious. The process can also become heated if you and your spouse disagree on who gets what. However, dividing assets does not have to be difficult; with the help of an experienced Lincolnwood divorce attorney, you can work to figure out which assets should be allocated to which spouse. Contact Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC to discuss your assets and decide how they should be divided. Call 630-530-4400 to schedule a consultation.