In a divorce, most couples will need to divide their marital property in
a way that is equitable and fair, but what happens to property that belongs
to one spouse alone? Before the division of property can occur, the court
or the couple must determine what property is eligible to be divided,
and what property is considered separate property.
Separate Property vs. Marital Property
Marital property is the term for assets and possessions that a couple acquires
during the course of a marriage using joint funds. Even if these objects
are intended for one spouse’s use, the property is still considered
joint property because it was purchased with marital funds. Marital property
can also include debt that a couple acquires during the course of their marriage.
Separated property is property owned solely by one spouse. This can include
a home or vehicle purchased before the marriage, a savings account that
is maintained separately from shared accounts, inheritances, and gifts.
In a divorce, separate property is not eligible for division and will
remain under the control of the owner.
Can Separate Property Become Marital Property?
It is possible that separate property may be considered marital property
under several circumstances. These situations include:
- Both spouses contribute to the mortgage and maintenance of a home owned
by one spouse. The increased value of the home is considered joint property.
- One spouse adds the other to a deed or title of an asset, allowing for
- One spouse makes deposits into the other’s separate bank account.
- One spouse deposits a financial gift into a joint account.
When separate property is combined with marital property, it is referred
to as commingling. This mixing of assets may be done intentionally, or
it may occur without the couples realizing it. Knowing the difference
between separate and marital property can help you retain control of your
assets. If you and your spouse are unable to determine what property is
separate and what is marital, a judge will determine how to handle your
division of property.
Clawson & Clawson, LLP, we are ready to answer your questions about your divorce case. Our top-rated
divorce lawyers can guide you through this difficult and emotional process. We
will be with you every step of the way, and we are dedicated to providing
our clients with compassionate, knowledgeable legal representation.
Learn how our team can help with a
free and confidential consultation.
Contact our offices by calling (719) 602-5888.