Property division can be a challenging aspect of nearly any divorce. A couple who has worked together for years or decades to build a financial future will likely maintain physical assets, digital assets and financial holdings that require thorough examination and valuation in the divorce. The first step, however, is to properly identify marital and non-marital property.
In a long marriage, it can be challenging to keep some assets separate. A family business, for example, retirement funds or an online storefront can all represent valuable assets that must be divided when the couple divorces. These are generally referred to as marital assets. Additionally, there are generally three categories of non-marital assets that will not have to be separated. They include:
- Property brought into the marriage: It is not uncommon for either spouse to bring assets into the marriage. From vehicles to collections to a savings account, many couples draft a prenuptial agreement to detail the assets they are separately bringing to the union. When the couple dissolves the marriage, each partner retains his or her separate or non-marital property.
- Inheritance: If either spouse separately receives an inheritance before the marriage or during the marriage, the inheritance is considered non-marital property.
- Gifts: It is not uncommon for the couple to receive gifts given to them both at the same time. However, when one spouse independently receives a gift, this item is considered a non-marital asset.
The division of assets and debts in a divorce can be a challenging procedure for most couples. The careful examination of property ranging from homes and vehicles to digital movie collections and cash-back bonus rewards can be a frustrating experience. It is wise to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who can provide the answers and direction you need.