Category Archives: Property

Blumenthal v Brewer: What Can Go Wrong If Couples Do Not Marry

Women and men who do not marry each other, even in decades-long relationships, have no right to maintenance (formerly called alimony) if the relationship ends.  These unmarried women and men also have no right to their former partner’s property, such as a profitable business and retirement benefits, even if they contributed time and money to […]

Couches, Lamps and Ashtrays – Resolving Personal Property Division

Most attorneys put off the resolution of personal property division to the end of the case. Unfortunately, waiting until the end of the case sometimes allows for the parties’ residual anger and resentment to be focused on what otherwise should be a fairly straight forward problem to resolve. The law requires assets and liabilities to […]

On Property Rights for Same Sex Spouses

The past decade has seen tremendous progress in the battle for marriage equality.  State bans on same sex marriage are falling one after another, granting these families the legal recognition they were denied for too long. On June 1, 2011, the Civil Union Act became effective and Illinois not only began granting civil unions, but […]

Instant Replay Creates All Kinds of Issues

Article originally appeared in the November 27, 2012 issue of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin written by Thomas F. Villanti and Evan D. Whitfield Major League Baseball (MLB) is deciding this off-season whether to extend instant replay to other areas of the game.  Meanwhile, former LA. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is facing his own instant […]

Top Ten Myths in Illinois Divorce Cases [Myth #3]

Myth: My spouse’s marital misconduct or bad behavior will help me in my marital case. If a husband has a girlfriend, or a wife spends money without any budget or regard for their finances, are those factors things that a court would consider in the division of property? Generally not. Our statute very specifically says […]

Top Ten Myths in Illinois Divorce Cases [Myth #2]

Myth: Illinois is a 50/50 property division state. Probably one of the most commonly asked questions I receive from clients is, “Is Illinois a 50/50 property division state?” It can be, but not necessarily. 50/50 states are known as community property states; California, Louisiana and Wisconsin are examples. Illinois is what is called an equitable […]

Pet Ownership in Illinois Divorce Cases

Pet owners love their pets and view them as an important part of their family.  Pet care is a multi-billion dollar industry, as evidenced by the increase in pet insurance, pet attire, specially made pet food, regular pet grooming services, and the number of pet pictures owners carry in their wallets.  About a third of […]

Retaining Your Non Marital Property After Divorce

Most people contemplating or going through a divorce are looking to retain as much of their property as possible.  That property is divided into two classifications: marital and non-marital property.  Marital property in Illinois generally consists of property acquired during a marriage.  Illinois divorce law requires the equitable sharing of all marital property.  That means […]

Alimony in Lieu of Property

Under Illinois divorce law, the so-called “equitable distribution” principle (enacted in 1977) allows courts to allocate marital property in myriad ways.  The asset mix in the “marital pot” in numerous cases, however, does not lend itself to a percentage division that a court is likely to order (or on which the parties might ideally agree).  […]