One of the biggest points of contention in a divorce is deciding what to with assets and understanding what is marital and nonmarital property. It is generally conceded that while you are married, anything acquired in the name of the married couple, regardless of who physically pays for it, is property of the couple, not the individual. However, there is some confusion concerning the property that was acquired prior to the marriage. Even so, this is usually not a problem while married. However, once the couple grows apart and divorce becomes imminent, the property battle begins. Understand your rights to property in divorce by speaking with an experienced family law attorney today – let us connect you for free to a professional!
Marital and Nonmarital Property in Divorce – We’ve Got Answers!
For most couples, common law property is the rule of thumb, as this is the law most states in the United States abide by. When a husband or wife buys something specifically in his or her name, he or she can still retain the rights to that item, even if he or she is married. If the item is purchased in both their names, such as the deed on a home, then both parties have 50 percent equity, even if there is only one spouse contributing financially.
While common law property is the norm, there are still eight states in the United States that follow community property laws. In this case, anything and everything acquired during the marriage, including all income (even if it is only earned by one spouse), is owned equally by both parties. This rule stays in effect for the duration of the marriage and does not dissolve until a divorce is finalized or death.
The rule can also affect any property that was owned by an individual prior to the marriage if it is commingled into the marital property. As an example, let’s use a savings account held by one spouse. Upon getting married, the couple opens up a joint account and the spouse with the savings integrates that money into the joint account. From that moment, the funds in the account are now considered community property.
Once divorce proceedings begin, all community property must stay intact until a decision is made as to how those assets will be divided. The only exception to this would be in the other spouse has agreed to allow the other party to transfer, eliminate, or alter this property in a specific manner. If this is the case, it is highly recommended that the agreement be in writing to protect you as the proceedings move forward.
Get the Property You Deserve in Divorce!
When an agreement has been finalized, all property will be divided according to the court agreement. In some cases, such as a couple with children, a major asset may be awarded completely to one individual (such as a father or mother getting custody being awarded the home), but the remainder of the assets are generally divided 50/50 unless there is a different agreement reached by the couple concerning their property division in divorce. Learning the difference between marital and nonmarital property is essential for you to fight for what you deserve – speak to a free family law professional today!