A divorcing couple is typically filled with questions, concerns, emotional turmoil and worry for the future. Much of this future worry is based on financial security. This leads to heated disputes regarding the proper division of both assets and debts. Some assets, however, will not need to be divided. These are non-marital or separate assets.

Depending on the duration of the marriage, a couple could accumulate a significant amount of assets and debts that might seem separate. For example, one spouse might have had extensive dental work completed during the marriage. While this debt might at first seem to be separate with only the spouse who had received the work being responsible for the repayment, the courts might see it another way.

It is wise to understand what might constitute separate property. For example:

  • Property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage
  • Monetary awards of a legal nature such as those from a personal injury claim or a victim of crime compensation
  • Property acquired by one spouse as a gift
  • Property inherited by one spouse
  • Property acquired by a spouse in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage

It is important to understand what is considered marital and non-marital property. Unfortunately, your spouse might attempt to take advantage of your confusion while you are working to divide your assets and debts through the divorce process. A skilled divorce attorney can answer your questions and provide the guidance you need from start to finish.