Which assets count as marital property and which qualify as personal property is a common question from those going through a divorce. While this can be a complicated issue and often depends on the circumstances specific to the couple, in general anything that was obtained during the course of the marriage is considered marital property.
One thing that is often confusing for divorcing couples is that even property that is only in one person's name, such as a house, car or even bank account, is still considered martial property if it was obtained during the marriage. It can be difficult for some parties to know of this type of marital property, however, if their ex didn't tell them about it during the marriage. If your ex opened up a bank account while you were married in his or her name only, and there is now $20,000 there, it's marital property.
A family law attorney can be invaluable in helping you find any hidden assets or those that need to be part of the divorce settlement. An attorney can also help you understand which assets are legitimately considered personal property according to the courts. These kinds of assets can include gifts from a third party, inheritances or property owned prior to the marriage.
It's important to understand that even in the above cases, the law may sometimes consider these marital assets if it appears they were converted to martial use after the marriage. Understanding what assets may be included in your divorce and how they are likely to be divided is an important first step in the divorce process, and we can help.