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What you should know about separate property

Filing for divorce and going through the tedious process can be overwhelming. Not only are you dealing with the emotions involved with separating from your spouse, but you must also divide all of the property that was accumulated during your marriage. It can be difficult to make these important decisions while dealing with these emotions. Yet it is important to understand that you may not have to part with all of your earnings and possessions. You may keep items classified as separate property, as these types of property and not eligible for division in a divorce.

What is separate property? Property that you acquired prior to becoming married may stay in your sole possession after your marriage is terminated. For example, if you owned a home prior to becoming married and kept the title of the home solely in your name, you may keep the home in the divorce settlement. This also holds true for inheritance property and/or money, as well as gifts given to you by a third party before, during or after the marriage.

If, however, separate property is mingled with marital property, it may lose its separate property status. For instance, if you deposit your inheritance money into a bank account shared with your spouse, that money may become marital and then able to be divided in the settlement. Similarly, if you revise the title of your home to include the name of your spouse, that home may then become marital as well. It is important to keep separate property isolated from marital property to ensure it remains in your sole possession.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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