Understanding separate property vs. marital property

| May 25, 2021 | divorce, high asset divorce |

Couples facing divorce often are concerned about how splitting their assets will impact their financial future. They also worry about what assets they may have to give up in a divorce. Who will keep the house? The furniture? Any recreational vehicles? What about property you owned before marriage, such as a classic car or golf club membership?

What is separate property and what is marital property?

When it comes to dividing assets and property, divorcing couples must determine what assets are separate property versus what are marital property. Marital assets are assets you accumulate during your marriage. So, if you purchased a family home while married, that would be a marital asset. If your retirement savings grew while you married, you may have to split those accrued assets equitably with your spouse.

Separate property includes personal assets you owned before you married and property you will keep in divorce. For example, some of these personal assets can be:

  • An inheritance you received
  • A trust fund you have
  • A property you bought and didn’t use as a marital home
  • Retirement savings and investments you owned before marriage
  • A personal injury settlement you received
  • Personal assets, such as a valuable collection or classic car, you owned before marriage
  • Business assets you protected with a prenuptial agreement

Getting help evaluating marital assets

An experienced divorce attorney can help you determine which of your assets are marital property and which are separate personal assets you will keep after divorce. An attorney also can help you negotiate asset division with your spouse if you want to keep the marital home or didn’t protect business assets with a prenuptial agreement.

New Hampshire follows equitable distribution laws, meaning marital property will be divided in a fair, equitable manner. That means you or your spouse may receive more than 50% of certain assets, based on several factors.

With the right help, you can ensure you keep your separate personal assets and work toward a fair divorce settlement. Then you will be one step closer to finalizing your divorce and moving forward.