Understanding Marital Property is Important in a Wagoner County Divorce
If you are either contemplating or in the midst of a divorce, you may have heard the term “marital” property. This is a term that is used often in divorces, and it is important to understand what it means legally.
Marital property is the term usually used to indicate property acquired by a couple during their marriage. Most often this refers to tangible items such as the family home or other physical belongings. But it can also refer to intangibles as well, such as the “goodwill” of a business owned jointly by a couple. All marital property must be divided between the spouses during the divorce.
Rule of Thumb Regarding Marital Property
All marital property must be declared during the divorce. Hiding or dissipating marital property assets is strictly prohibited in Oklahoma. If a judge finds that a spouse has done either of these things, the court may punish the spouse.
Therefore, it is important to list all assets belonging to the couple jointly during the proceedings. In this regard, the rule of thumb is that an asset is most likely going to be considered marital property unless you can prove that it is separate property.
Almost everything that a couple acquires during their marriage is marital property. But there are some exceptions to this rule. Property obtained before the marriage is separate property. In addition, an inheritance is considered to be separate property even if it is obtained during the marriage.
The same is true for a personal injury settlement or payment on a personal injury award. Finally, a personal gift from someone other than your spouse is considered to be separate property. However, if the gift came from your spouse, that is marital property.
Transmutation of Property
Let’s say that you have $50,000 in cash before the marriage. You put that amount toward a house that you buy with your spouse. You and your spouse continue to make joint house payments on the house for several years before the divorce. The separate cash will most likely have been transmuted into communal property by commingling.
If you and your spouse hold title jointly, that can also change the characterization of property. Let’s say that you buy a car with your separate cash assets. But you and your spouse both hold title to the car jointly. By holding title jointly, you have transmuted the car’s characterization from separate to marital property. This can also happen if you deposit your separate cash assets into a joint bank account.
Transmutation is a complicated issue. So, you must be careful about how you deal with your separate property during the marriage. The repercussions of your actions can be an unintended transmutation.
If you have questions about marital property in Oklahoma, please bring them to an experienced Wagoner divorce attorney. Your attorney can help you understand the issue and how your actions may have colored the characterization of any separate property that you may have.
Free Consultation with a Wagoner Divorce Attorney
Property issues can be complex. Get the help you need today. Wirth Law Office – Wagoner offers its clients the best possible divorce, child custody, and child support representation in the Wagoner, Oklahoma area at reasonable rates.
We invite you to schedule a free consultation to discuss what we can do for you. Contact Wirth Law Office – Wagoner at (918) 485-0335 to schedule your free consultation. You can also fill out the form at the top of the page.