If you are making plans to get married, you and your soon to be spouse probably have discussed how you will combine your property. As an example, one of you may decide to give up your townhouse and have a yard sale to sell extra kitchen accessories or furniture. But it’s also wise to consider how this property might be divided the marriage ends in divorce, or traditionally consider the fundamentals of overseeing your marital property. Learn more about Marital Property Do’s and Don’ts by reading this article.
When spouses get divorced, marital property (which is acquired in the course of the marriage or otherwise jointly-shared) gets divided pursuant to state marital property laws. Some states have “community property” laws, which results in a more or less 50/50 split of marital property. On the other hand, a large portion of states utilize an “equitable distribution” method in which the needs and assets of each of the parties are taken into consideration when dividing marital property. Irrespective of your state’s laws and your family’s individual situation, the following recommendations will help you decide how to best oversee your marital property.
Overseeing Marital Property: What You Need to Do
Consider a Prenuptial Agreement
Before marrying, contemplate a prenuptial agreement to specify which property remains safe from division in case of divorce or death.
Maintain Clear Documentation
Ensure proper records for distinct property types, including pre-marriage assets, inheritances, or gifts, to establish their separation from marital estate.
Keep Separate Property Separate
Throughout marriage, segregate pre-marital assets from those acquired during marriage to avoid complications in distinguishing separate from marital property.
Recognize Appreciation Dynamics
Be aware that the increased value of non-marital property may be considered marital, especially if it’s deemed “active” appreciation due to efforts like property management.
Use Non-Marital Property Wisely
Use non-marital funds exclusively for acquiring property intended to retain its separate status, ensuring clarity in ownership, even with spousal involvement.
Safeguard Personal Injury Settlements
Keep funds from personal injury lawsuits separate during marriage unless compensating for loss of income or supporting your spouse.
By following these guidelines, you can effectively manage and protect your marital and non-marital property.
Overseeing Marital Property: What You Should Not Do
Avoid Using Non-Marital Funds for Marital Liabilities
Refrain from utilizing separate funds to settle marital debts to prevent potential loss of their non-marital designation.
Caution with Income Placement
Avoid depositing income earned during marriage into non-marital accounts, as this may lead to commingling and jeopardize the separate status of the account.
Maintain Separate Bank Accounts
Steer clear of opening joint bank accounts with non-marital funds, as maintaining separate accounts is a wiser choice for safeguarding non-marital assets.
Reevaluate Property Ownership Assumptions
Don’t assume that pre-marital property remains entirely non-marital; increased value during marriage may entitle your spouse to a share.
Business Dynamics Post-Marriage
Recognize that a business owned pre-marriage may not stay entirely non-marital if its value increases during marriage, potentially entitling your spouse to a share.
By avoiding these pitfalls, you can better protect the distinct status of your non-marital assets in the course of your marriage.
Get Professional Assistance Overseeing Your Marital Property
Marital property typically doesn’t turn into an issue unless the spouses are breaking up, but it might also be a component in a prenuptial agreement or other concerns. When you have any legal questions with marital property, the best thing you can do is to locate professional legal help. Find a family law attorney near your area and get some tranquility.
Managing marital property: DO’s and don’ts. Findlaw. (2018, November 14). Retrieved August 10, 2022, from https://www.findlaw.com/family/marriage/managing-marital-property-do-s-and-don-ts.html
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