When a couple has been together for a long period of time, dividing assets and property in a divorce can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Even if the divorce is completely amicable, deciding who gets what can be extremely challenging. Many assets are not physical property, and stocks, retirement accounts, business licenses and other assets may not be divided evenly. When separating property, it is important to know the difference between separate and marital property and how these apply in your case.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
Marital property is any property obtained by the couple while they were together in a marriage. Separate property is any property that was owned by either spouse before the marriage, inheritance that was received by one spouse, a gift given to a spouse by a third party, or compensation from a lawsuit. If separate property was co-mingled with marital property, it will become marital property.
Any property that falls outside of the specifications for separate property and was obtained while the couple was in a marriage is considered marital property, even if it is not in a joint account. Retirement plans in one spouse's name, for example, would be considered marital property in the divorce.
California is a community property state, meaning that both parties in a divorce have an equal share in the marital property. Other states may look at other factors in order to determine how property should be divided, including the length of the marriage, the employability of the spouses, and the standard of living established in the marriage.
If you are considering a divorce, it is best to consult with a divorce attorney at Claery & Green about division of assets and how you can get what you deserve. Give our firm a call today for a free consultation!