Non-Marital Property

Section 3501 of the Divorce Code sets out what property will be considered non-marital property and therefore not subject to equitable distribution in a divorce case. Any property acquired prior to the marriage that has not increased in value during the marriage is non-marital as well as any property acquired after final separation but potentially prior to the entry of a divorce decree as long as marital property was not used in its acquisition. Any inheritance received is treated as a gift and will also be deemed non-marital so long as it is not subsequently commingled with marital funds. The court will also not look at property that was disposed of in good faith while the marriage was intact. An example would be property sold to a family member for its fair market value. Veterans’ benefits cannot be attached, levied or seized except in the case where a portion of the veteran’s retirement pay was waived in exchange for the benefits. Finally, any payment from a cause of action or lawsuit where the underlying claim occurred before the marriage or after separation. Property acquired prior to the marriage or in exchange for said property is not marital as well as property expressly excluded by valid written agreement of the parties at any time.

Property that is generally considered marital would be all property acquired by either party from the date of marriage through the date of separation that doesn’t fall into any of the above categories. There is a presumption all property acquired during the marriage is marital regardless of how title is held (e.g. individually vs. jointly). It will also include the increase of value of any non-marital property during the course of the marriage.