When can separate property become marital property?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2024 | Divorce |

Divorce tends to involve the intricate division of assets. Efficiently dividing these assets requires distinguishing between separate and marital property.

Ownership can be a confusing matter during a divorce if you are unsure if your property is still separate or if it has become shared marital property. Knowing when separate property can become marital property is necessary for a smooth process.

Separate property defined

Separate property typically refers to assets acquired before marriage. It can also include gifts or inheritances received individually during the marriage. At the onset of a union, each partner brings their own financial history and possessions into the relationship. These are generally considered separate and distinct.

Factors influencing the transformation

As time progresses, the lines between separate and marital property may blur. Several factors contribute to this transformation. Couples might co-mingle their separate assets by depositing them into a joint bank account. Investing separate property into a joint effort, such as a shared home or business, can also blur the lines. It is also somewhat common to transform separate property into marital property through a written agreement.

Evaluating the impact on division

The classification of assets as separate or marital significantly influences their division during divorce. Marital property is typically subject to equitable distribution, meaning the assets split fairly, though not necessarily equally.

Studies suggest that 90% of divorces end on uncontested terms, but the journey there can be full of contentious discussions regarding property division. When both spouses clearly understand what property is separate and what they share, negotiations can be much more productive.