When going through a divorce, you will have to deal with the division of assets. This is often one of the most difficult parts of the divorce for many people.
To understand asset division better, it is important to understand community and separate property first and foremost.
The Business Professor takes a dive into defining community and separate properties. In short, community properties are the assets that you will divide with your spouse. Separate properties are the assets that belong to you alone and typically are not up for division.
Community properties often include things that you both bought together with your own money, things that you bought with a joint bank account even if it is just for you, and things signed in both of your names. Examples include cars, houses, and other often “big ticket” purchases.
Separate properties include things that you received before the marriage, gifts given to you during the marriage, and any inheritances that you may have gotten over the course of the years.
However, there are some cases where separate properties become community properties. For example, if you put your inheritance money into a joint account or use it to buy a joint property, then it counts as community property moving forward.
This is why it is so crucially important to understand finances and how marital properties work well in advance of a divorce. It is not pessimistic or a reflection on a relationship but rather a pragmatic stance on how to protect one’s assets.