A common question from individuals involved in a divorce case (or contemplating filing) concerns what property, assets and liabilities are considered part of the marital estate. The quick answer to that question is assets and liabilities accrued from the date of marriage to the date of the filing of Petition for Dissolution can and likely will be considered divisible between the parties.
As with many areas of family law, there is no bright line test for this evaluation and there are exceptions to the quick answer rule. For instance, assets or funds inherited by one spouse during the marriage may be removed from the valuation of the marital estate. If the benefactor wanted to bequeath the funds on both parties, provisions certainly could have been made to do so. If that did not occur, then the funds will likely be deemed to be solely the beneficiary’s property.
In addition, property that was owned or accumulated prior to the marriage can be considered separate property. For instance, the balance on a 401(k) as of the date of marriage can be argued to belong to the individual who accumulated the funds. If the balance was $10,000 as of the date of marriage and is $30,000 as of the date of filing, then it may be argued that only $20,000 should be considered as part of the marital estate.
The examples discussed are just a few of many potential variables to consider when valuing a marital estate and it is important to consult an attorney if you have questions concerning what you may or may not be entitled to in the event of divorce. The linked article goes to a brief, but good discussion, on factors that could play a role in your case.Hollingsworth& Zivitz, P.C., our team has the experience, the understanding, and the compassion to assist with your family law needs. If you have questions or concerns regarding divorce, custody, support, or any other family law concerns contact our firm at 317.569.2200 or hzlegal.com.