Divorce: Assets and Their Inclusion in the Marital Estate

Richmond spousal support lawyerIf you are in the midst of a divorce and you are trying to figure out whether or not an asset will be part of the marital estate, there are a few things that you will need to take into consideration with respect to the asset, such as timing, source, and disposition. In general, assets that are obtained before the marriage carry with them a presumption that they are pre-marital; still, this does not mean that they will automatically be found to be pre-marital.

Pre-Marital Savings Can Be Commingled

For instance, if a wife comes into a marriage with a $10,000 savings account, technically, that would be pre-marital property, and that status would supply a Richmond spousal support lawyer with a definite argument for having it excluded from marital estate division. However, what if the money in that savings account is used as a portion of the down payment on the marital home? From the view of an economist, the $10,000 has been commingled, and there would be no possible way to separate one dollar from another dollar with respect to the equity of the home. Therefore, the $10,000 would be considered part of the marital estate that is subject to division.

Consider Timing, Source, and Disposition

In the above-mentioned example, the timing of the asset refers to when it came to be: before the marriage. The source of the asset concerns where the asset came from: the wife. And the disposition of the asset refers to what happened to it during the marriage: it was used to buy a joint asset. The first two functions indicate that the asset could be kept out of the marital estate, but the last function altered the nature of the money and made it part of the marital estate.

Assets Accumulated During Marriage Are Divisible

Now, what if the wife, right after the marriage, opened an individual retirement account in her own name, her husband never had anything to do with the account, and at the time of the divorce, the account was valued at $10,000. From an economist’s standpoint, the asset would be considered marital and subject to division because of the timing of the creation of the asset: during the marriage. Generally speaking, assets accumulated by a couple during the marriage are divisible, regardless of whose name they happen to be in or whether or not they have been kept separate.

If you have some questions or concerns about your assets and you need the services of a lawyer in the Richmond or Williamsburg area, call Smith Strong at 804-325-1245 (Richmond) or 757-941-4298 (Williamsburg).