Property Purchased in Contemplation of Marriage

All property acquired subsequent to the marriage is presumed to be marital property and subject to equitable distribution by the court. Property acquired by a method identified under 750 ILCS 503(a)(1)-(8) is specifically identified as non-marital property, which includes property that was acquired before the marriage commenced. But, what about a home that was purchased in one party’s name while the parties were engaged to be married? Under the new Act, the home would not be deemed marital property solely because it was purchased in contemplation of marriage. Therefore, additional factors must now be considered to classify it as marital.   

Date of Valuation

Previously, the Act stipulated that the date of valuation of property was either the date of trial or another date as close to the actual date of trial as practicable. In some cases, this allowed for substantial growth or substantial decrease in the value of marital property after the parties had physically separated. Now, however, the Act affords the court greater latitude in determining the date of valuation. Specifically, the Act provides that the court has the discretion to determine the value of assets or property using either the date of trial, such other date agreed upon by the parties, or a date that is ordered by the court. Therefore, the court could utilize its discretion to set the date of valuation earlier than trial, effectively stopping the increase or decrease in value of marital property while the dissolution of marriage matter is pending.

Specific Findings

The court is now required to make specific factual findings regarding its classification of property as marital or non-marital, the values, and other factual findings that support its property award.
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