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Why are commingled assets complex during a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2024 | High Asset Divorce

During a divorce case, couples need to split up the marital assets that they own. These typically include the things they purchased together, like cars, homes, real estate or businesses. They also include money they earned from various income sources, such as wages, commissions, bonuses and even retirement plans. 

Generally, these marital assets can simply be traced back to the date of the marriage. If people owned various assets prior to the marriage, those still qualify as separate assets and do not have to be divided. But things can sometimes get a bit more complex when the assets have been commingled or mixed together.

Are they marital assets?

In some cases, commingling can change the status of an asset so that it becomes a marital asset. 

An example of this could be if you had $50,000 before getting married. You may consider this a separate asset, but that may not be true if you shared it with your spouse during the marriage or stored it in a shared bank account. Once they have access to it, they may be able to claim it as a marital asset.

Additionally, using financial assets to buy tangible goods can change the status. Maybe you used that $50,000 as a down payment on a house that the two of you bought together after tying the knot. Even though you brought the $50,000 to the marriage, purchasing the home jointly commingles it and the proceeds from that home sale likely need to be divided between you and your spouse.

Navigating the process

Because this process is complex, it all leads to disputes about the status of various assets. It’s important to understand your legal options if this occurs.

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