My wife and Husband are getting divorced. The husband may receive a bonus after the divorce is over. The wife believes that a percentage of the bonus is marital property. She says it was earned while they were still married.

Husband claims that it is not marital property. He claims that it is not a sure thing. It was speculative. And, it was based on the employer’s discretion.

The Trial Court agreed with the Husband. Wife appealed.

The Appellate Court agreed with the Trial Court. The bonus was not vested. It was given at the discretion of the employer. It was not property at all. It was a mere expectancy.

Husband’s employment was at will. He did not have a signed employment contract. Any bonus was not included in a written contract.

The bonus would be based on the Husband’s performance. But, it also included the performance of his group in the company. All bonuses and awards were discretionary.

The court compared the bonus to accruing vacation and sick days. It is all speculative and uncertain. A party collects compensation for those days at retirement. Or termination of his employment. A party cannot receive cash for those days prior to retirement or termination. It is possible that an employer might change its policy concerning the right to receive compensation for accrued sick days. It could eliminate or limit that right entirely.

In re Marriage of Wendt, 2013 IL App (1st) 123261.

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