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Can non-marital assets become marital property?

by | Jul 5, 2016 | Firm News, High Asset Divorce |

If you and your spouse have several assets, dividing them fairly can be challenging. One of the questions we often hear at Mercedes R. Wechsler PA, concerns the determination of what assets are marital property. As you are probably aware, property that is accrued during your marriage is usually considered by the courts to be marital property and therefore, subject to division. However, it is possible that separate property – property that was acquired prior to the wedding – may have transitioned into marital property too.

According to Forbes, inheritances are generally considered separate property. However, if you receive a cash inheritance from a family member and you put it into an account that your spouse’s name is on, like a savings account, then you may lose your sole ownership status on it. This can also happen with real estate property. For example, you came into the marriage as the owner of a home. You decided to add your spouse’s name to the deed on the property. That choice just turned the house into a marital asset since your spouse now has a legal ownership on it.

Increases of value and interest on separate property may also be eligible for division. Let’s say that your spouse holds a retirement plan that was initiated during single life. Your spouse will try to claim that the account is exempt because it is separate property. While that may be true for the amount in the account at the time of the wedding, the additional funds accumulated since then will likely be identified as marital property, giving you a justified claim on them. Gifts may also be counted as marital property. To learn more about this subject, please visit our web page.