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Marital and Non-Marital Assets/Liabilities

marital-assetsEach party in a dissolution of marriage case is required to provide a list of their assets and liabilities for the Court to use when dividing property (equitable distribution). An important first step in this process is determining of something is either “marital” or “non-marital.” Why? Because anything that is found to be “marital” is subject to being distributed (divided) between the parties as a part of the dissolution process (either by agreement or Court order). However, “non-marital” property is set aside and is not usually subject to being distributed.

Examples of Marital Assets & Liabilities:

  • Anything acquired (or incurred) by either or both spouses during the marriage (between the date of marriage and the date of filing for dissolution of marriage)
  • Any increase in value (appreciation) of a non-marital asset from the efforts of either party during the marriage or by the spending of marital funds/other marital assets
  • Gifts between the spouses during the marriage
  • All benefits or funds (vested or non-vested) in pension, retirement, annuity, profit sharing, and or insurance plans or programs, or deferred compensation that were earned, realized, or occurred during the marriage
  • Real property, especially property owned by the parties as tenants by the entireties
  • Any marital assets or financial instruments that were commingled with non-marital assets generally change ‘the color’ of the non-marital assets in those accounts into marital assets

Examples of Non-Marital Assets & Liabilities:

  • Anything acquired (or incurred) by either party prior to the marriage
  • Anything acquired as a non-interspousal (not from the other spouse) gift or inheritance during the marriage
  • Income generated by non-marital assets during the marriage (unless such income was used as a marital asset, for example if it were deposited it into a joint account)
  • Any assets or liability specifically excluded from being determined as marital by a valid written agreement of the parties (this might be an ante-nuptial/pre-nuptial agreement, or a post-nuptial agreement)
  • Gifts between the spouses prior to the marriage
  • Engagement rings relating to this marriage


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