On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Property Division on Thursday, August 22, 2019.
There are generally two primary categories of property during divorce and property will be defined as one or the other to help decide what is divided and what will not be subject to the division process. Sometimes considered a third category or property, or simply a separate designation, is commingled property which it is also helpful for divorcing couples going through the property division process to understand.
Ensuring divorcing couples understand the different categories of property, and how they impact them and their divorce, is valuable during the divorce process. The two primary categories of property are marital property and separate property. As a general rule of thumb, only marital property is subject to the property division process. Marital property refers to property and assets the couple acquires while they are married. Separate property, by contrast, generally includes property that one of the spouses entered the marriage with and acquired prior to the marriage.
There are some exceptions, however, to the different property designations and inheritances, gifts and personal injury awards are types of property that may still be considered separate property even if they were acquired during the marriage. Property can be commingled in several different ways but one way is if a separate property asset is improved with marital property. The family law court will take a close look at each asset or property owned by the couple to help ensure it is correctly designated.
Typically, only marital property is subject to the property division process. The way property is divided can vary by state but is either according to equitable property division rules of community property division rules which requires property to be divided, respectively, fairly or equally. To be able to know what to expect and how to prioritize and protect their interests during the property division process, divorcing spouses should always be familiar with the different categories property is divided into.