How to Prove Property is Not a Marital Asset

Getting divorced entails far more than simply eliminating a marital status. There is an established process involved that divides property, determines child support and custody where there are children in a marriage, and may even order spousal support or alimony. Dividing marital assets can be tricky and extremely adversarial, particularly when there are questions as to ownership of property. Though some think that assets simply belong to the individual whose name is on a title or account, the law is much more nuanced. While items purchased and assets acquired during the course of the marriage are almost always considered marital, individual spouses are able to keep any inheritance they received during the marriage, as well as any property that they entered the marriage with as long as they are able to prove their ownership.

In some cases, proving that property is not a marital asset is a straightforward process. If the home that the couple lived in during the course of the marriage was purchased prior to the marriage by one spouse, and the title on the property was not changed during the course of the marriage, then the property is generally not considered a marital asset. Proof of ownership can be found in the original purchase documents, and the same is true of assets like pension plans and investments that were funded or purchased prior to the marriage.  Nonmarital assets can also include items that were gifted to one of the spouses during the course of the marriage.

The simplicity of this equation can be complicated when marital assets are commingled into a previously owned property or asset. If a house was purchased years before a couple got married by just one spouse, and then after marriage marital assets are used to renovate or improve the property, that investment needs to be taken into account. The same is true if the spouse whose name is not on the property made significant contributions to paying the mortgage over an extended period of time.

If there are questions about whether property is a marital asset or not, a qualified divorce attorney can help. In some cases, they will bring in a forensic accountant to calculate variables to ownership in order to ensure that both spouses are treated fairly.

For more information on the divorce process, contact us today to set up a time to discuss your situation.