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Can an Illinois Divorce Court Make Me Sell My Land?

Posted on in Divorce

Dealing with real estate can be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. Whether it is a fight over the family home, a vacation property, or even a vacant piece of land, people are often emotionally attached to their real estate. How much say does a divorce court judge have over what happens to your land?

Deciding if the Land is Marital Property

Under Illinois law, in a divorce case, all property including both real estate and personal property is put into one of two categories. Either the property is individual property or it is marital property. The court has jurisdiction over anything that is considered marital property.

The general rule is that anything acquired by either spouse after the start of the marriage is considered marital property. Any increase in value is also considered marital property. There are several exceptions to this rule. The two biggest exceptions are that inheritances and gifts are not marital property as long as they are not commingled.

Issues of Title

Land that was inherited would not be subject to being divided in a divorce, unless the title was changed and both spouses' names were added. Holding real estate in almost any way with your spouse is enough to make the entire holding of both spouses marital property.

In some cases, land will be held in joint tenancy with other people outside of the marriage. In this case, only the interest controlled by either spouse would be considered marital property, not the entire parcel of real estate.

Equitable Division

Judges are charged with dividing property equitably in a divorce. This does not mean evenly. Instead, the judge must examine several factors and then divide the property fairly according to those factors.

A judge could award a piece of real estate to the other spouse. The judge could also divide the property in such a way that one spouse was forced to sell a piece of real estate to generate enough cash to pay to the other spouse as part of the property division.

While judges do technically have the power to order the sale of real estate as part of a divorce decree, often creative and seasoned lawyers can help clients find alternative settlements that avoid having the judge make those kinds of decisions.

If you have questions concerning divorce, property division, or any other family law issue, please contact a skilled DuPage County divorce lawyer today. Call The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. at 630-462-9500 to schedule your consultation.



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