As a part of your divorce, one thing you need to consider is which assets are or are not marital assets. Marital assets will need to be divided based on equitable distribution rules. This means that the assets that are nonmarital and belong to you won’t be included in the division and all shared assets will be divided equitably, not equally.
While the law does ask that you divide your assets fairly, there is no guarantee of an equal split. This is why it’s a good idea to prove as many of your assets are your personal property and separate from the marital estate as possible.
What’s the standard for proving an asset is separate property?
Generally speaking, you will need to provide clear, convincing evidence that property doesn’t belong to the marital estate. For example, if you have a receipt for a television that you bought before you got married, that would likely be evidence enough to maintain that the property is separate.
Similarly, if you have an inheritance and have made a purchase with it, if you can show the money trail and prove that the item wasn’t meant to be shared between yourself and your spouse, you may be able to keep it as separate property.
The kinds of clear evidence you might have include:
- Photographs with dates
- Videos with dates
Remember that many kinds of assets may be considered separate property, such as:
- Personal injury awards
- Property acquired during the marriage but used by only one spouse
- Property or debts designated separate by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement (in most cases)
- Property owned before marriage
- Gifts and inheritances received by one spouse
- Property obtained using separate assets
These are a few things to keep in mind as you determine which property you should set aside as separate property as you start to negotiate during your divorce. If you and your spouse cannot agree and there isn’t evidence of property being either yours or theirs, then you may need to assume that it is marital property for the purpose of property division during your divorce.