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Commingled property belongs to both of you

| Feb 7, 2020 | Family Law

Property that you owned before your marriage may stay yours alone — or it might not. You can commingle that property with other assets that you both own. If you then choose to get a divorce, your spouse may have a claim to property that you thought belonged only to you.

One example is if you owned your home before you got married. You took out the mortgage yourself and you paid for it. After the marriage, though, both you and your spouse started paying it off, using your joint assets. Your spouse could now claim ownership of the home since their income was used to make those payments.

Another example is if you got an inheritance from your parents. If you put that money aside for yourself, making it clear that it just belongs to you, then you may keep 100% of it in the divorce. The money stays with your family.

However, if you take the money and put it into a joint account, then it becomes commingled with your spouse’s assets. They may even use it to make purchases and pay the bills. If you file for divorce, you can’t pull the inheritance back out of the account and tell your spouse they get nothing. They now have a right to that money as well, seeing as how they may have made different spending choices if they knew they were only spending the other money from the account.

These situations can get complicated in high-asset divorce cases, so make sure you are well aware of all of your legal rights moving forward.

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