What is Non-Marital Property?

In a divorce, one item of contention is determining how assets should be split. In many cases, one spouse thinks they should get more money. There may be arguments over a house or vehicle. A person may not think they have to divide one of their assets at all.

In some cases, this is true. In a Maryland divorce, the parties have to divide marital assets. This refers to property acquired during the marriage. Money, cars, houses, furniture, antiques, collections and other assets bought while the couple was married is subject to split in a divorce. It doesn’t matter who paid for it, since money acquired during a marriage is considered to be owned by both parties.

However, non-marital assets do not have to be divided. They remain the property of the owner. Non-marital property is defined as assets not included in the marital estate. This means that anything you own before you get married is considered to be yours only. If you were given a car as a gift for your 16th birthday and you still have it when you get married, it is considered to be yours only. If you bought a vacation home before marriage, it is yours. Even if you bought the property while you and your now-spouse were dating or living together, it is still considered to be yours only, unless the asset is titled in both names.

Non-marital assets also refer to gifts and inheritance given only to you during the marriage. For example, if your father dies and leaves you $1 million, that money is yours and not subject to split in a divorce. If your rich brother bought you a new car, that car is yours. The same applies to your spouse. Any gifts or inheritances they receive while married to you not subject to division. You do not have any claim to it.

However, there are exceptions. When you commingle the money and assets, such as put them in a joint bank account or use them for family purposes, they lose their status as non-marital property. For example, if you received an inheritance and used it to buy a new home for the family, then it becomes marital property. If you are given a car by your parents, and the car is used by your husband or wife, then it becomes their property as well. Therefore, if you want to preserve the non-marital status of your assets, then you need to be careful how you use them. They need to be kept separate at all times, which can be difficult to do. 

Contact a Maryland Family Law Attorney Today

In a divorce, you want to ensure that your personal property remains that way. It’s a good idea to understand what assets need to be split and which ones you can keep.

If you have concerns about asset division, get help from the Columbia divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. We understand the laws and will ensure your rights are protected under Maryland law. To learn more, fill out the online form or call (410) 774-5987. We have two offices to serve you.


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