When couples unite through marriage, spouses share much more than just living space. Property not only enters the marriage by each spouse, but Kentucky couples often accumulate much property throughout the marriage. Thus, when a couple decides to enter their union through divorce, the division of property can be a complex matter, especially if it was a lengthy marriage.
Division of marital property
When a couple decides to divorce, they will need to determine who will get what. Not all property can simply be split in half, like a bank account; therefore, it is imperative to understand whether certain property is considered marital property or separate property.
Marital versus separate property
Marital property is considered property owned by both spouses. This often includes income, bonuses, retirement contributions, homes, businesses, motor vehicles and other items purchased during the marriage by either spouse. Often times, property deemed marital property will be split equally, or if not possible, equitably.
In contrast, separate property is property that was either owned or acquired by a spouse prior to marriage. In addition to property and separate financial accounts, this also includes inheritances, gifts or personal injury awards. So long as these items remain separate from the marital account, it will maintain its separate property label.
In some cases, the distinction between marital and separate property is not clear. The lines can blur, especially when comingling occurs. This is when separate assets are mixed with marital assets. This often occurs when separate financial accounts are used to purchase marital property or separate finances are placed into a marital account. This could create complexities when it comes to whether something is in fact marital property, and if so, what an equitable division would look like.
The division of property is often a contentious divorce issue; however, it does not need to be a challenging one to work through. While it may be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is possible to work through property division and obtain a favorable resolution. Those unsure of how to move forward with the process or are unaware of their options should take the time to understand his or her legal rights for this and other divorce issues.