Many people in Rockford, Illinois, have lived together without being married for years if not decades. In all likelihood, over their years together, these couples have intermingled their separate property and have otherwise lived a common life and maintained a common home together.
However, Illinois law does not have a way for a couple to go through the divorce process when they have never been married, which means that these couples have no legal way, at least not through the court system, of dividing their property.
Basically, if an unmarried couple wants to assure that their property is divided fairly should their relationship end, they will need to do at least one of two things. First, they can make sure with respect to individual pieces of property that they are properly titled.
For instance, if the couple agrees that their house rightfully belongs to one of them, they may wish to make sure the house is titled only in that person’s name. Likewise, items like cars, bank accounts and retirement plans need to be titled so that in the event of a break up, there is no dispute over ownership.
Second, a couple is always free to sign a contract specifying what will happen regarding property division in the even the couple breaks up and stops living together. If the parties are both amenable to signing an agreement, it is important that it be drafted clearly and adequately cover all aspects of property division.
While unmarried couples are not free to use the court to divide the property as if they were married, there are means such couples can use, with the help of a family law attorney, that will enable them to secure their property rights.