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Property division: Understanding what counts and what doesn't

During your marriage, you have built a life with your spouse and that includes gathering many joint possessions you most likely never intended on having to split. It's normal to be worried about who will get what and to have a specific list of the things you wish to take with you from the divorce. At its most basic, property division during a divorce seeks to figure out which of the couple's assets were obtained jointly and which are considered to be the person's own.

Under Nebraska law, any property that was obtained through any means during the course of the marriage is deemed marital property and is subject to being divided by the courts. This means that even if an asset was bought by only one party using a separate account, it is marital property. This also applies to larger items, such as cars, boats and houses, that are only in one person's name.

Property that is considered separate and not part of the marital assets will usually be awarded to the party to which it belongs. Items that were owned previous to and brought into the marriage may constitute personal property, as can previous inheritances, third-party gifts and compensation from a legal settlement unrelated to the divorce.

It's important to understand, however, that even with these provisions, property division can get sticky. If one party can prove that the separate property was used as marital property at one time, it may then fall under the guidelines for asset division of the martial property. In any situation where there is a disagreement over the division of assets or confusion about what counts as marital property, seeking legal counsel can help you better understand how the courts are likely to view the situation.

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