What is Marital Property?

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What Is Marital Property?

Marital property refers to any assets or funds that were obtained during the course of marriage. These will usually be valuated and split evenly between the spouses in the event of a divorce or legal separation.  States can often have very different laws for how to define and calculate marital property amounts.

Also, marital property can also be called by other terms, including shared property or community property. Again, the exact definitions of these specific terms can vary depending on the state laws that are being applied.

How Is Marital Property Treated During Separation or Divorce?

Marital property is generally divided equally between the parties.  This can include items such as homes, cars, bank account contents, and securities. Any property that isn’t classified as marital property is usually called separate property. This will be owned in full by the owning spouse after the divorce.  Thus, it can make a major difference whether property is defined as marital or separate property.

What Is Separate Property?

The following are considered separate property and cannot be divided upon divorce:

Note that separate property can be turned into community property. Conversely, community property can be turned into separate property if the parties agree in a postnuptial agreement.

What Are Some Common Legal Disputes over Marital Property?

Not all divorce proceedings are straight-forward.  Some legal disputes over marital property include:

These types of disputes can be complicated and may require the intervention of legal profession for proper handling.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Marital Property Laws?

Most divorce and separation proceedings will require the assistance of a lawyer. If you need legal assistance, you may wish to hire a family lawyer in your area. Your attorney can help you with your claim, and can research the laws in your area to see how your marital property rights may be affected.

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Last Modified: 05-06-2015 11:19 AM PDT

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