The truth is, if you are currently married, money that you earn during the marriage can be considered marital property. This, of course, applies to those without a prenuptial agreement. There are exceptions to this rule, much like any rule of law. However, it is up to you and your attorney to discover the exceptions and prove that your situation is covered. While winning the Super Bowl block pool may not be a true issue in your divorce settlement (especially if it is for an amount under $100), let’s use it as an example to get you to start thinking about your money and how it could be divided in the event of a divorce.
Marital assets are property acquired during the marriage including income received by the parties and will be divided equitably under the law during a divorce unless otherwise specified. In other words, this is the property accumulated by both spouses during the marriage. To simplify this concept, think of marital assets as your family’s belongings. No party can truly stake claim, nor would any party have gained these objects without the help and support of others. In reality, this understanding is never quite as smooth as its explanation. Often, this is the property that you will argue about the most, as property acquired during a marriage may have sentimental value to you or your spouse. This is sometimes the case with the marital homestead.
There are still assets that are yours and yours only. These assets were yours before the marriage, during the marriage, and after the marriage. These include things you brought into the marriage, such as family heirlooms, real estate or investments. It also includes inheritances that you may have received during the marriage. As much as you may wish to fight over these assets, typically if not co-mingled with marital property they are not open for debate except in rare circumstances. Your Super Bowl block pool winnings are not part of this category, and would be considered marital property.
Of course, marital and non-marital assets are much easier categories to define if you create a prenuptial agreement. With a prenuptial agreement, it allows you and your spouse to determine the assets that belong to you individually, as opposed to allowing the law to make that determination. When this contract is created during the positive times in your soon-to-be union, your intentions are often pure and you do not wish to cause conflict with the other party. Obviously, some unforeseen or unattained items will not be included in this document. However, the overall concept may help make the division easier even for new, unspecified property. While you may not foresee a large windfall of money prior to your marriage, you may be able to outline how you would like to handle such events if they were to occur, making the most emotional time of your life a little more objective.
To learn more about your rights regarding your property and how marital assets are divided, contact the Family Law experts at Lake Harriet Law Office at (612) 750-4843.