Don’t Lose Your Shirt! 6 Things You Need to Know About Marital Property
1.) Marital Property
Marital property is defined as any debt or asset that accumulated during the course of the marriage. The marriage is defined as beginning on the date that you get married and it ends on the date that one of you files for divorce. Sometimes we have a separation agreement that is entered into prior to somebody filing for divorce and in the separation agreement we can agree upon the date that marital property stopped accumulating.
- Any asset purchased or debt incurred during the course of the marriage is considered marital property.
2.) Separate Property
Separate property is property that accumulated either the start of the marriage or after the beginning of a divorce action. Sometimes separate property is acquired during the course of the marriage but which your spouse has no claim to. For instance, if you receive an inheritance and somebody left the money to you, that money is yours separate and distinct from marital property and you get to keep that on your own. It’s very important that you don’t commingle or you don’t intermix that with marital property because the court could then say that separate property was turned into marital property and you could end up owing your spouse some of your inheritance, which otherwise you would not have to have given them.
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- Separate property is property that you possessed either before the marriage or after the divorce started.
- You can attain separate property during a marriage through inheritance, as long as marital money is not used on it.
3.) Equitable Distribution
Generally speaking, marital property is divided equally between the spouses. Although the court is not obligated or required to divide it equally, that’s generally what happens. Sometimes certain facts and circumstances exist that make it more just to give one spouse more of the property than the other. However, rule of thumb is we generally look that each spouse is going to get pretty much the same amount out of the marital value.
- Property that is earned during marriage is subject to be split between parties.
- Generally, this is a fifty fifty split between the couple.
4.) The Fate of the House
Many people are concerned about what they are going to do with their house. Typically what’s going to happen is the house is going to be sold or one spouse is going to buy it from the other. That’s going to entail going to the bank and getting it refinanced in that spouse’s name alone if it is jointly titled and paying off the other spouse’s equity in the house.
- When you go through a divorce, the house is either sold on the market or one spouse will purchase the other’s half, and refinance.
5.) The Fate of Your Personal Belongings
Typically in a divorce you have many personal items that could be your bed, your dresser, or your clothes. Typically we don’t handle those within the context of a divorce. We would like to see that you and your spouse handle that between you. You can keep your stuff. If it’s your dresser or your clothes, you should be able to keep them and you wouldn’t want to have to pay an attorney to resolve those issues for you. If you brought property into the marriage, you can take that out. That is yours to keep. That’s separate property. If during the course of the marriage, if someone gave you specifically an item, that’s typically going to be yours to keep and you can take it with you. During the course of the marriage you’ve accumulated furniture, pots and pans, and that sort of stuff. Typically you’re going to want to handle that alone with your spouse and not necessarily involve the courts or attorneys.
- In regards to Furniture, Entertainment, or Collections, the courts prefer that you decide amongst yourselves what will be split.
- You can keep property that you already owned prior to marriage.
- If you were given items personally to you during your marriage then they are yours to keep.
6.) The Fate of Your Car
Typically with your car, you’re going to keep your car and your spouse is going to keep their car and you’re each equally going to be responsible for your own expenses. If there is a loan or a lease, you’re going to pay your own car. You’re going to keep your own car. If there is a significant difference between the equity of one car or the other, we’ll take that out and apply it as a credit to the marital property in the other aspects.
- Many times in a divorce, each spouse will be able to keep their own vehicle and will be required to continue paying the loan if there is one.
- If one vehicle has more equity than another, we can address the issue with extra credit in other areas of the marital property.
Are you ready to start the divorce procedure, but need an attorney that will go that extra distance? Let one of our dedicated attorneys fight for you and your family.