Madilyn A. Keating, a family lawyer in Chicago, answers:
In Illinois, “marital property” means all property and income acquired by either spouse during the marriage. “Non-marital property” is generally any property that was acquired before the marriage, received as a gift, received as inheritance, or awarded to one spouse in the divorce. The main difference between marital and non-marital property in Illinois has to do with the division and allocation to the parties upon dissolution. Non-marital property is awarded to each respective spouse. Marital property is equitably divided between the parties after consideration of a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the future earning capacity of each spouse, and the value of each spouse’s non-marital property. The court’s goal is to leave both parties in an equitable position post-divorce.