Loosely defined, marital property is any property acquired during the marriage by either or both spouses, regardless of the form in which it is held, who earned it, or who holds title to it. Pensions, professional licenses, and separate bank accounts can all be marital property. There are, however, some important exceptions to the general rule. An inheritance, a gift to you from someone other than your spouse, – or an award or settlement resulting from a personal injury is considered separate property even though received during the marriage. Also, if separate property is sold, the cash proceeds of the sale are separate property. However, a spouse may claim that the value of the appreciation of separate property constitutes marital property.
In the absence of circumstances or an explicit agreement indicating other intentions, each spouse’s property acquired before the marriage remains separate property. When one spouse transfers title to separate property to both spouses jointly, it may be asserted that that spouse intended to convert or “transmute” separate property into marital property. The assertion may be rebutted.
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