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What is considered nonmarital property in a divorce?

Nonmarital property is property is property owned by either spouse prior to the marriage and typically falls outside the marital estate when a divorce occurs. Such property can be real or personal.

So what types of property are typically classified as nonmarital?

Separate property, as it's also referred to, can take various forms. A gift received by one spouse from a third party prior to the marriage is a common example. Expensive Jewelry, an antique heirloom or collector car are other examples.

However, in some situations, determining marital property from nonmarital during a divorce isn't always cut and dry. Situations can get a little tricky when nonmarital property is pooled or commingled with marital property.

For instance, one spouse inherits money from a parent or relative. That spouse, however, places that money into a joint bank account held with the other spouse. A divorce later occurs and the types of property in the marital estate need to be ascertained. Are these funds from the inheritance still nonmarital or now considered marital?

In this and many other situations, the answer to this question will depend on both the law in the jurisdiction where the divorce is filed as well as the specific circumstances involved. Were the funds used to finance the marital home? Or, were they placed in the couple's account for safekeeping?

Those with questions about specific property and how it will likely be classified in a divorce should consult with an experienced family law attorney knowledgeable in this area of law.

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