Once you and your spouse get married, the law takes your legal relationship very seriously, especially when it comes to property. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, most property that either of you owns becomes marital property, which you now both own as a married couple. While you may both still buy vehicles or homes individually to take advantage of one spouse’s income or credit rating, the law does not recognize this distinction as clearly as a lender might.
In fact, if you choose to commingle your assets, even property that might otherwise remain separate can become marital property. One of the most common ways this can grow complicated is when it involves an inheritance. In many instances, inheritance does not count as marital property automatically. However, if the inheritance commingles with other assets, it grows very difficult to distinguish them from each other.
In broad strokes, you may endanger an inheritance by converting it to a marital asset rather than a separate asset through commingling. This may occur easily if you take a sum of money from your inheritance and place it in an account with other marital property, such as your spouse’s income or savings. Once assets commingle, courts often consider them marital property.
If you have concerns about protecting your property in an upcoming divorce, or if you are already in the middle of a divorce and concerned about the outcome, don’t wait to begin building a strong legal strategy. With excellent legal resources and guidance, you can create a strategy that keeps you secure and uses the law to protect your rights as you journey through this difficult season and prepare for a fresh start on the other side.