Posts Tagged ‘marital property’

Handling Marital Assets During A Divorce: Vehicles

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Similarly to homes and dwellings, vehicles, such as cars, trucks, vans, and even the occasional motorcycle, are often the subject of disputes in many, many divorce cases. Sometimes one spouse feels that they are entitled to keeping it, while the other wants to sell the vehicle and, very amicably, would be willing to split the profit, although sometimes there is a belief that they themselves are solely entitled to the money. Another scenario that is quite common is that one of the spouses will be paying a monthly lease for the car, yet it is their partner that is the one mainly driving the car, and since they will no longer be together, they don’t want to pay for their ex to have a car.

The courts use a very general set of circumstances to decide on how this problem will be resolved, with different situations resulting in a potentially different outcome. For instance, whether the vehicle was acquired during the marriage or before the marriage makes a big difference. If it was purchased prior to the couple getting married, then the purchaser would have a very substantial argument that the vehicle is not considered marital property. However, if the car was purchased during the marriage, there is a high probability that the court will deem it as marital property, and therefore it will most likely be subject to distribution in the divorce. While this does not necessarily mean you will lose complete ownership of the vehicle, it is now in the hands of the court to decide. If the car was a gift from one spouse to the other, then the courts find that gifts are considered separate property, and therefore it will not be subject to distribution.

The money used to purchase the car also makes a big difference to the court. For example, if the funds used to buy the car were separate funds of one of the spouses, then again, they would have a very compelling case that the car is not considered marital property, and not up to be divided. However, it also stands that if the funds used were deemed to be marital funds, then consequently the car is also going to be considered marital property.

What Happens If A Separate Property Was Given As A Gift?

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Spouses often target gifts and inheritance during the divorce proceedings. Most of these are assets that they have a vested interested in. Gifts can be categorized differently, for instance, there are gifts given between spouses, and these are often treated as part of the couple’s marital estate.

In addition, when a spouse uses their own separate “property” to invest in the spouse’s marital property, that separate property now becomes another part of the spouse’s marital estate. To put that into more relatable terms, if a spouse were to use their inheritance (which is the separate property) to make an initial deposit on the marital home, that is considered as a “gift,” could be considered as marital property. This type of gift will make it perfectly reasonable for the non-inheritor to claim some entitlement.

Sometimes, the spouses, as a couple, can receive a gift, as in the more common way of using the word “gift.” In fact, without proper proof that a payment or gift was meant to be a separate gift to you, and is not for the couple, the court might decide that it is subject to division. Even so, separate property can still become marital property depending on how it is used, and what you refer to the property as during the marriage.

If you combine separate and marital assets together, it can become a joint asset, voiding the premise of separate property. Sometimes, if these assets become so muddled that it becomes difficult to distinguish what is separate and what is joint, a court might be so inclined as to call it all joint. There is a burden of proof on the party that is claiming separate property, and because of the pre-mentioned tendency of the court, it is important to keep separate property just that – separate.