In a typical Illinois divorce, marital property is distributed equitably between spouses through a property division agreement or order. This means that any assets that the spouses previously owned together will become the sole property of one or the other. However, there are possible exceptions to this outcome. If you and your spouse can reach an agreement, you may be able to continue to jointly own certain properties and assets even after your divorce is complete.
In theory, divorcing spouses could agree to maintain joint ownership of a wide variety of assets, but this is rarely realistic in practice. Though giving up some of your assets can be difficult, it is typically much less complicated to completely disentangle your financial interests from your spouse’s.
That said, there are some types of property for which it may be desirable to remain joint owners, at least for a time. This can include:
Businesses - If you and your spouse purchased or founded a business together and you are both heavily involved in its management and operations, you may find yourself in a situation in which neither of you is willing to leave or give up your share.
Real estate - You may decide that you and your spouse should remain joint owners of your family home, perhaps to maintain a sense of stability for your children until they are ready to move out. You might also wish to share a vacation property so that you, your former spouse, and your children can continue to use it.
Pets - The bond between a pet and owner can be as strong as a bond between family members, and the thought of losing this relationship in a divorce may be too much to bear. You and your spouse may decide to work out a “joint custody” agreement in which your pet splits time between the two of you after the divorce.
Joint ownership agreements between former spouses are not for everyone. Before entering into such an agreement, you should be certain that you and your ex can continue to maintain a positive relationship, and keep in mind that it can be much more difficult to divide the property in the future if your relationship sours. It is also a good idea to establish your agreement in writing and treat it as a legally binding contract so that there is a clear understanding of each party’s rights and responsibilities and a plan for resolving future disputes.
At Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices, we understand that every couple’s situation is different, and we can help you negotiate a creative marital property agreement that fits your unique needs and preferences. We can also help you protect your interests and understand the implications of your decisions. For a free initial consultation, contact our Lombard, IL divorce lawyers today by calling 630-932-9100.
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