divorce and your money, divorce and marital property, marital assetsThis is the third post in my “Divorce & Your Money” series.

 There may be some confusion about which property (assets or money) may be considered “yours”, “mine” and “ours”.  Property often gets jumbled together in the course of a marriage.  However, some assets (or debts) may be excluded from the settlement agreement.

Understanding the concept of marital property is important to make sure an agreement is fair and equitable.


Individual (or Separate) Property

This could be property earned or received before the marriage, and kept separate from marital assets.  During the marriage, it could be received by gift or inheritance, and kept separate from marital assets.  Keeping it separate is the important part – you may not want to deposit that inheritance from your grandmother into your joint account.

Here are some examples:

  • The engagement ring (in most cases, this is considered a gift)
  • Student loan debt (from before marriage)
  • Rental property bought by one party before the marriage
  • Your old car (bought before marriage)
  • Trust fund

Marital Property

Marital property is earned, purchased or received during the marriage.  Even if one person earns it, it is Marital, not Individual property.

Here are some examples:

  • Primary residence (marital home)
  • Investment accounts
  • 401(k) – all or the portion which was contributed or earned during the marriage
  • Pension – if it was earned during the marriage (even if payments have not started, it still has a value)

Hopefully this sheds some light on what (if any) assets might NOT be included in your divorce settlement.  In the next post, I’ll lay out the process for determining the assets and liabilities that will be part of the settlement.


Changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have substantial impact upon each person’s situation.  You should discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.

Visit PowerOverDivorce to learn more about Divorce Financial Planning Services.