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What is the Difference Between Separate, Marital, and Commingled Property?

What is the Difference Between Separate, Marital, and Commingled Property?

When it comes to the distribution of property in divorce, the most important identification is whether property is labeled as marital, separate, or commingled property. In a divorce, only marital property is split between spouses, whereas each spouse gets to keep his or her separate property. Failure to properly identify property could mean leaving thousands of dollars on the table in your divorce, so it is critical to understand the difference between separate, marital, and commingled property. To learn more about identifying separate, marital, and commingled property, call or contact a divorce attorney in your area today.

Separate Property

Separate property is property that each spouse brings with him or her to the marriage and was acquired prior to the wedding. This can be real estate or personal property and includes both assets and debts, such as student loans. In addition, certain exceptions also count as personal property that are acquired during the marriage, such as gifts to one spouse and inheritances. After a divorce, each spouse leaves the marriage with the separate property with which he or she entered the marriage.

Marital Property

Marital property is all property acquired by both spouses during the course of the marriage. Marital property includes both personal property and real estate, such as homes, cars, furniture, art, jewelry, clothing, and more. Marital property refers to both assets and debts acquired by spouses during the marriage. After a divorce, the marital property is split between the spouses according to state law. Some states divide marital property equitably, which means that each spouse acquires an equitable, not necessarily equal, amount of marital property depending on the particular circumstances of the case. Other states utilize a community property method, where each spouse takes half of all marital property in the marriage, including assets and debts.

Commingled Property

The last category of property is commingled property, which is property that began as separate property and is converted to marital property. Property can be classified as commingled if marital funds were used in the upkeep, funding, or maintenance of separate property. The most common example of property that begins as separate and becomes commingled is a family home when one spouse owned the home prior to the marriage. If marital funds or the efforts of the other spouse are used in the maintenance of the home, it is converted from separate property to commingled. Commingled property falls into the same category as marital property during a divorce, and commingled property is split between spouses.

Talk to a Lawyer Now

The identification of property as separate, marital, or commingled can have a significant impact on your overall divorce settlement, so it is important to speak with a qualified lawyer about the particulars of your situation. Call or contact one of the family law attorneys at Kearney | Baker today at 626-768-2945.


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