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What is marital and separate property in a divorce

Considering the number of people who marry later in life or remarry after a divorce, it's quite common for spouses to have separate property they already owned.

Marital property includes any resources or assets that a couple amass collectively during the course of their marriage. While signing either a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with your spouse is a particularly effective way to document ownership of assets, many fail to protect themselves this way.

If you're contemplating divorce and there is no prenup or postnup in place, it's important to know how wide the net expands when it comes to marital property. Any real estate that was purchased by the two of you during the course of the marriage is considered to belong to you both.

The same goes for vehicles, boats, or even planes. Art and antiques collected as a couple also fall into the marital property category.

So may funds being held in securities or annuities, banking instruments or retirement accounts. Even special licenses or advanced degrees can be deemed as an asset both parties can lay claim to.

Spouses can legitimately wage claims to the proceeds from one spouse's inheritance if the funds were commingled with marital assets at some point.

Monetary compensation received for personal injuries you suffered during the marriage that does not include lost wages is exempt.

During the divorce process, couples can work out a division of marital assets decree. If you and your soon-to-be former spouse cannot agree on what property is marital and separate, a judge might ultimately decide that for you. Your divorce attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement with opposing counsel before the matter is decided by the court.

Source: Findlaw, "Divorce Property Division FAQ," accessed May 05, 2017

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