The division of property during a divorce proceeding can be difficult and tedious. There is property that needs to be divided between you both, while other properties will stay with one individual, even after divorce. What is the difference between separate and marital property? The answer isn't too complicated.
When you talk about separate property in a marriage and how it's treated during the divorce, this includes any property each spouse owns or did own prior to the marriage. This can include houses, businesses, cars, rental property, or anything else of value that only one spouse owned before they got married. These assets stay with the original owner. This also includes any inherited property that one or the other spouse owned that came from parents or other relatives, for example, either before they were married or after. An inherited property does not get divided up between spouses during a divorce.
Separate property also includes any gifts that were given to one spouse, for example, cars, diamond rings, or anything of value that could be sold and divided between the two. Only the spouse who was given the gift is eligible for it; it does not become part of the divorce proceeding.
If either of you receives payment from an injury settlement or court case of some kind, those funds are considered separate property and therefore are not subject to division either.
Separate property can, however, become marital property if you entwine it with your spouse legally. For example, if you owned a home prior to marriage and then added your spouse's name to the deed, this property is no longer just yours; it is now considered marital property and is subject to division.
Marital property is any asset you aquired with your spouse while you were married. For example, any homes or condos, cars, rental property, businesses, or anything else you got while you were married is marital property. It doesn't matter if only one spouse's name is on the deed or lease; you both own it, and that property will be divided between you during a divorce.
Each state does have their own laws regarding community property and equitable distribution, meaning which property is considered to belong to both spouses and how fairly said property is distributed between them. Some states divide everything in half, so both sides get an even share, while others divide it along financial lines as to who paid more for the property and financial status. Check with your state to see how it divides these assets.
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