A divorce involves various complex processes, such as child custody, alimony, child support, etc. One of the most complicated ones is property division. Managing marital property division can be a challenge because both spouses want to take home the biggest share. Moreover, dividing property with sentimental value can be an emotional process.
Every state has different laws about dividing marital property. However, regardless of what the laws in your state are, a few tips can help you decide how to deal with the process. For more information, you can consult with a sandy child custody attorney.
Dos and don’ts of marital property division
- Consider using a prenuptial agreement.
Prenuptial agreements or prenups dictate what happens to your and your spouse’s property during a divorce. It also clarifies what will not be considered marital property despite being acquired during the course of the marriage. This way, you can protect the specific assets that you do not want to share with your spouse, no matter whether you get a divorce or not.
- Keep property separate.
Please keep your and your spouse’s properties separate throughout the marriage, especially those with sentimental value. Generally, this means not commingling the property you owned prior to your marriage.
- Maintain records of ownership.
Keep all your properties’ ownership and establishment documents safe with you. In the event of a divorce, these documents will help you prove that you own these properties. These can include gifts, inheritance, deeds, titles, etc.
- Pay off marital debt with non-marital funds.
If you and your spouse have joint debt (marital debt), you need to pay them off with marital assets only. If you use personal funds, that money could be considered marital and would become subject to property division during a divorce. Always use shared assets to pay off loans incurred during the marriage.
- Deposit marital money into your personal accounts.
When you get married, you have different types of bank accounts. You and your spouse have a joint bank account known as the marital account and another one that is for your personal funds. Your spouse does not have the right to access your personal account and vice versa.
Do not deposit any income incurred during the marriage into your personal account, as any money earned during marriage is considered marital property.
- Assume premarital property will stay non-marital.
Every property you own has the chance of becoming a marital property if you are not careful. If you and your spouse have jointly contributed to maintaining a property or investing in its improvement, it could become marital. Then, your spouse will likely be entitled to it too.