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Commingled assets can complicate property division in a divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2024 | Property Division

One of the first steps when dividing property in a divorce is identifying which assets are considered marital property and which are separate property. Marital property typically includes assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage, such as income, real estate, vehicles, investments and other assets.

On the other hand, separate property includes assets owned by one spouse before the marriage and gifts or inheritances they received during the marriage. Separate property is not usually up for division in a divorce; only marital property is.

However, there are instances where separate property gets mixed with marital property during the marriage, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. Commingled assets can complicate property division in a divorce, potentially leading to disputes, as each spouse may have a different view of how the assets should be divided.

How does this happen?

Commingling of assets can occur in various ways during a marriage. One common scenario is when funds from separate bank accounts are combined into joint accounts. For example, if one spouse deposits their premarital savings into a joint savings account used for household expenses, the separate funds may become commingled with marital funds.

Commingling can also occur when separate property is used to purchase marital assets, like when a spouse uses all or part of their inheritance to buy the family home. Similarly, financial transactions that mix separate and marital property, including investments, real estate or businesses, can result in commingled assets.

What can you do about it?

If you are dealing with commingled assets in your divorce, taking informed action can help you protect your financial interests. Try to identify and trace the commingled assets to their source. It may involve reviewing financial records and documentation to establish who owns what.

Most importantly, consider seeking urgent legal guidance to help understand your rights and options in addressing this complex situation.