Posts tagged with "marital property"

Divorce, Separate or Non-Marital Property

The laws of dividing property vary from state to state. As a starting point, however, most states allow parties to keep their own separate or non-marital property. Non-marital property includes property that a spouse brought into the marriage and kept separate during the marriage. It also includes inheritances received during the marriage and kept separate during the marriage. In addition, non-marital or separate property may include gifts received by just one spouse during the marriage. A few states permit division of separate as well as marital property when parties divorce, but the origin of the property is considered when deciding who receives the property. 

The right of a spouse to keep his or her separate or non-marital property may depend on the degree to which the property was, in fact, kept separate. For example, if a wife came into a marriage with a $20,000 money market account and wanted to keep it as non-marital property, she should keep the account in her own name and not deposit any funds earned during the marriage into the account. She should not, for instance, deposit her paychecks directly into the money market account, because the paychecks are marital funds and could turn the whole account into marital property. The process of changing non-marital property into marital property and vice versa sometimes is called transmutation. 

Is property acquired during the marriage in my name separate property?

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.