Many questions exist when you decide to divorce. One that is important to understnad is whether you can keep your nonmarital property when you divorce. Nonmarital property includes property acquired before a marriage and gifts, inheritance, pension proceeds, or court awards provided to only one spouse. Property acquired with nonmarital assets is also considered nonmarital. The owner of property classified as nonmarital may keep these items after a divorce, subject to some exceptions. Only an experienced family law attorney can properly advise you on whether you can keep your nonmarital property after you get divorced – speak with one today!
How Do I Keep My Nonmarital Property?
In certain cases, property considered nonmarital can become community property. For example, a business that was started by one party prior to the marriage but sustained by income earned by both parties during the marriage is considered comingled property and must be divided during a divorce. Items purchased or maintained with a combination of nonmarital and marital assets are usually considered marital property in divorce.
An increase in the value of nonmarital property could be considered marital, entitling each spouse to a share of the increase upon divorce. This is particularly true when a conscious effort causes the appreciation in value. For example, painting an inherited property or taking an active role in managing a separate stock portfolio that results in the asset being worth more money.
Should I keep My Nonmarital Property Separate?
Keeping nonmarital property separate requires effort on the part of the party who owns it. Titles and deeds should not be issued in the names of both spouses if one party purchased the item with only his or her nonmarital assets. If one spouse used nonmarital funds to purchase a home and the couple lived in it together but had no children, the purchasing spouse is entitled to retain the property and legally require the other party to vacate following a divorce.
To prevent disputes over property division in divorce, a couple can enter a premarital or prenuptial agreement before getting married. This stipulates which property is nonmarital and not subject to division upon divorce. Accurate recordkeeping can substantiate the separate nature of property considered nonmarital and is particularly useful with money received as a gift or inheritance. Nonmarital property should be kept separate throughout the marriage if the owning spouse wishes to retain all of it upon divorce.
To retain the entire value of nonmarital funds during a divorce, do not use this money to repay marital debt or open a joint bank account. Also, do not deposit income earned during a marriage into a nonmarital bank account. Do not assume that property or a business owned prior to a marriage will remain a nonmarital asset. Talk to an attorney to get the correct information and proceed as recommended. Speaking with one our experienced divorce attorneys will help you understand your rights and how you can keep your nonmarital property after divorce!