The differences between separate and marital property

When going through a divorce, people should be aware of the differences between marital and separate property.

Filing for divorce in Pennsylvania or anywhere across the country for that matter is not always a simple process. There are many issues that must be negotiated before the final divorce settlement is created and approved. One of the most difficult tasks for people to accomplish is that of dividing the marital property. Determining who is entitled to what after years of marriage can be hard, as there may be strong emotional ties to certain items. It is important for people who are entering into the divorce process to understand the differences between marital and separate property so that they are more likely to receive everything they are entitled to in the settlement.

A look at marital property

In addition to the family home, vehicles, furniture and other basic items, marital property includes a wide- range of items, including any assets and property that were amassed throughout the marriage. Marital property also includes, but is not limited to the following:

· Lottery tickets winnings and income tax refunds.

· Memberships to exclusive country clubs and golf courses.

· Collections, such as antiques, cars, coins, stamps, art and books.

· Intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrights, patents and royalties.

· Term life insurance

· Gifts given to one another during the marriage.

Furthermore, if one spouse lent money to someone during the marriage, that money is subject to division once it is paid back.

Not everything is marital

In some cases, people may have separate property, which is not eligible for division in a divorce settlement. Separate property includes items that were owned by either party prior to becoming married, such as real estate or assets. Any inheritance money, gifts given by a third-party or personal injury compensation that was awarded to either party before, during or after the marriage is also considered separate property.

There are some instances where marital property may be divided between a couple. For example, if the title of a property was in the original owner’s name, but he or she had it revised to include the other spouse’s name, it is no longer considered separate property. Similarly, if separate money belonging to one spouse is deposited into a joint bank account with the other spouse’s name attached, that money may become marital and eligible for division.

Upholding your rights

Going through the divorce process can be extremely emotional, making it difficult to make decisions that will affect your future. An attorney may be helpful in answering your questions, giving you essential information and assisting you throughout the divorce process.