The trial court held that the home in which parties resided for their 28–year marriage was marital property. It awarded the home and its furnishings to the wife. Husband appealed.

The marital home, located in Winnetka was acquired by the parties after their marriage. It was acquired and built from the proceeds from the sale of another home they had in Lake Forest.

The property has been occupied by his wife for many years. It was now occupied by the wife and the parties’ adult son.

The first home had been a gift from the husband’s father. The property was conveyed to trust with the husband as the sole beneficiary. According to the husband, the title to the property was placed in such a way as to preclude the wife from ever obtaining an interest in the property, even a dower interest.

Ordinarily, a transfer from a parent to a child is a gift. However, in this case, the presumption is canceled by the conflicting marital presumption that all property acquired after marriage is marital property. That leaves no presumption.

It is obvious that the trial judge did not find the husband’s position credible. Rather, it believed his mother’s original testimony that the Lake Forest home was a gift from both the parents to their son and daughter-in-law.

Fortunately, in our Democratic society, the vow of marriage to care for a spouse until death remains a wee bit intact even for the wealthy. Spouses are no longer allowed to deny their mate the right to own property, even if the spouse brings no property into a marriage.

A spouse acquires an interest in the property of the other spouse by virtue of the marriage regardless of where the so-called legal title actually lies. The State legislature has maintained an iota of the ancient concept that a marriage of two people creates unity in property by defining the property held by a married couple as “marital property.”

IRMO Landfield, 209 ill.app.3d 678

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