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Protecting What Matters Most

How do you keep your separate property in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2021 | Property Division

If you get a divorce in Rhode Island, you may be able to keep your separate property instead of having it divided. If you have a prenuptial agreement that has been prepared correctly, this will make the process easier and more straightforward. However, there are other ways that you can keep your separate property.

What is separate property?

First, it is important to understand that the law is essentially on your side when it comes to separate property. Since Rhode Island is not a community property state, the assets and debts you brought into the marriage are generally considered to belong to you. If you have a separate piece of property that you earn income from, this is also considered to be separate income. However, other income earned might be considered marital property. Gifts and inheritances are also separate property.

Keeping separate property

In practice, this can be a bit more complicated. For example, if you sold your grandparents’ home and put the money into a joint account, it might then be considered shared property. On the other hand, since Rhode Island is a separate property state, assets are supposed to be divided equitably but not necessarily equally. Finally, how property is divided may be dependent on how your divorce plays out. If you go to court, you may have little control over what happens regarding property division. However, you and your spouse may agree to negotiate property division, and in this situation, you might both agree to keep property that a court might have divided.

Negotiating property division is not always possible in a particularly contentious divorce. Your attorney may be able to help you prepare to go to court if it is necessary.