What is the difference between marital and separate property?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2021 | Divorce

Marriage is a legal relationship that two Kentucky residents can choose to enter by their own decision. People of all different backgrounds, economic situations, and ages choose to marry for a variety of different reasons. As such, the relationships that exist between married people can look quite different depending on where the partners are in their various stages of life.

To this end, some couples get married when neither partner has much money or any property, though others may get married after growing their own assets and wealth independently. The property and assets that a person has before they get married can have an impact on certain aspects of their divorce, should they and their spouse choose to end their marriage. This post will discuss the differences between marital and separate property and how those differences can impact property divisions in Kentucky. No part of this post should be read as legal advice.

What is marital property?

Marital property is property that two married people acquired together after their relationship was legalized. Property that was owned solely by one of the parties before marriage can become marital property if marital assets are used to improve it or it is converted to marital property in another way. Any property that an individual owned before their marriage or received as a gift or inheritance that is not commingled with marital property may be identified as separate property and under the sole ownership of the recipient.

Why does it matter how property is classified?

The classification of property as marital or separate can have significant ramifications on the equitable distribution process as two divorcing parties attempt to settle their assets and property matters. While separate property remains under the ownership of the individual who has possessed it, marital property is divided in an equitable manner between the parties. It is important that readers remember that equitable does not mean equal, and many factors will be considered before marital property is divided between them and their spouses during divorce.

Property is one of the most contentious and confusing issues that can afflict the divorce process. Individuals who have questions and concern about the property division process of their divorces can direct their inquiries to their trusted family law and divorce lawyers.