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Does the name on the account matter in an Illinois divorce?

The way that you split up your shared or marital assets is often one of the more contentious aspects of an Illinois divorce. Couples often suspect divorce will occur for some time before either spouse actually files the petition. During that intermediary time, it is somewhat common for one or both spouses to attempt to diminish the marital estate or hide assets for their own personal gain.

The creation of a separate bank account, for example, is one way to hide assets when you think you will soon file for divorce. The more assets from your marriage, the greater the risk of your ex trying to hide something. If you discover that your ex has had a secret account for some time, you may likely wonder whether or not that account could be subject to division in the divorce. 

What matters is whether the funds in the account are marital or separate

The name on the account only matters if both spouses jointly hold the account. In that situation, regardless of the nature of the asset, both spouses probably have a claim to the balance of the account. Even typically separate property, such as an inheritance, will wind up subject to division if deposited into a shared account.

For an account held only in your spouse’s name, the courts will look at what assets they use to fund the account. If they use any income earned during your marriage, even if it was a portion of their paycheck, those funds are marital property and subject to division under Illinois law. If the funds in the account or at least a portion of them were in the accounts since before the marriage, the account may be separate property to which you don’t have a claim.

Schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Denis M. Gravel & Associates, P.C. at 847.855.8447.