Definition of Marital Property

Marital property is property which is acquired during the marriage. Marital property differs from personal property which belongs solely to one party (unless it is specifically titled jointly with another individual). Marital property can include personal property, such as household items, investments, stocks, bonds or vehicles. It can also include real property, such as real estate, a home or a business.

If a person marries the property acquired or bought prior to the marriage may remain the personal property of the person who purchased it, unless titled to the other spouse. In some cases, however, if the value of the property increases the spouse may acquire an interest in the property. For instance, if you own a home worth $175,000 on the date of the marriage and at the date of separation the property is worth $200,000, your spouse could have an interest of $25,000 in the property.

Laws on Dividing Up State Property

State laws vary for how marital property will be divided in divorce, although the courts generally attempt to split property equitably. Prior to making property division decisions the court will evaluate several factors: the value of the property owned by each spouse, the duration of the marriage, whether either spouse dissipated the assets prior to the divorce, whether either spouse is supporting another person from a prior marriage, post-nuptial arrangements, the health of either spouse, the occupation of either spouse, and the income of either spouse. Finally, the courts will evaluate the custodial needs of the spouse’s children. Talk to a lawyer if you have questions about how your marital property will be divided in a divorce.

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