If you and your spouse decide to file for divorce, one of the biggest tasks will be to distribute your property between you. Property consists of both assets and debts that existed prior to the marriage and were collected during the marriage. When and how property was used during the course of the marriage will dictate what happens to it after divorce. In order to ensure that you are receiving the property you deserve in your divorce settlement, be sure to speak with an experienced divorce attorney about your case today.
Nonmarital property is all property that was acquired by each spouse prior to the marriage, including both assets and debts. There are also some limited exceptions that count as non-marital property that can be acquired during a marriage, as well, such as gifts to a single spouse or an inheritance. Nonmarital property includes tangible items such as a car or furniture as well as intangible property like student loan debt and financial accounts. All nonmarital property goes back to the spouse who acquired it after a divorce.
Marital property consists of all assets and debts that were acquired during the course of the marriage. Like nonmarital property, this includes both tangible and intangible items like the marital home, art, retirement accounts, and credit card debt. Depending on the state you live in, marital property is either equitably distributed or split according to community property rules. In an equitable distribution state, the marital property is distributed equitably, which does not necessarily mean equally, depending on the specific facts of your case. For example, if one spouse committed adultery and spent marital assets on a mistress, the other spouse may receive more of the marital assets in a divorce to maintain equity. In a community property state, all property is split equally, 50/50.
There is some property that starts out as non-marital property but can be commingled and turned into marital property during a marriage. Commingling occurs when separate property is paid off, maintained, or kept up with marital funds and efforts. The most common example of commingled property is a home that was originally owned by one spouse but turned into the marital home after the marriage. If the home that began as non-marital property has the mortgage paid and is maintained using marital funds, the home becomes commingled property. The same applies to intangible property like financial accounts if one spouse had a financial account that both spouses contribute to during the course of the marriage. Co-mingled property is treated the same as marital property in a divorce and split according to the property distribution rules of your state.
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Property distribution is one of the most complex and arduous parts of any divorce, so be sure that you have a knowledgeable divorce attorney on your side. Call or contact us to learn more about this article.