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Protecting personal property in a divorce

When couples in Massachusetts decide to marry, numerous decisions are made. The same is often true for divorce. Major life events often require careful planning and decision-making. The divorce process is not an easy one to go through, but if the separating couple can take the time to focus on the major issues, the process could be completed amicably.

Getting out of the divorce process with the belongings they brought into the relationship is often more difficult than most presume. This is often because personal property could easily be comingled with marital property. If individual property is treated like marital property, it will be treated as such in a divorce.

Assets such as a joint bank account will obviously be treated like a marital asset, but spouses do not often think about items that were purchased by that account. If one spouse buys a car with funds from a joint bank account, that car will be presumed marital property. Even if funds from the joint bank account are used to repair or remodel a car owned by one spouse, the usage of these funds to improve personal property could cause individual property to become marital property.

The best way to ensure that personal property remains out of the marital asset pool is by keep accurate documentation. Evidencing title and ownership could help keep individual property with the spouse that owns it. Furthermore, if the married couple fears property division complications if the two were to divorce, the couple could draft a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Together the couple could ensure that their property is divided properly is a divorce occurs.

Getting a divorce is known to be an emotional and complex process. People should make sure they understand their options while also protecting their interests.

Source: Askmen, "Divorce Assets: The Divorce Files," Joseph Cordell, Dec. 30, 2013

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