Property division has always been a critical issue in Rhode Island divorce cases. Who keeps the family home? What happens to retirement savings? How are debts divided up? To determine who gets what, courts consider whether the property is marital or separate.
Marital property is any property acquired during the marriage, regardless of which spouse holds title to it. In general, all property owned by either spouse at the time of divorce is presumed to be marital property and subject to division unless there is evidence that it should get classified as separate property. For instance, if your spouse purchased property before the marriage, but you contributed to its upkeep and improvements during the marriage, it would likely be considered marital property.
Separate property is any property that wasn’t acquired during the marriage. This can include an inheritance or gifts from a third party. It can also include certain types of income, such as rental income or proceeds from the sale of separate property.
It’s important to note that property can lose its separate property classification if it’s commingled with marital property. For example, if you inherit a sum of money and deposit it into a joint bank account with your spouse, it may no longer be considered separate property.
How about debt?
In property division cases, debts are also considered property and subject to division in a divorce. All marital debt is generally divided equally between the spouses. However, if one spouse can prove that he or she was not responsible for incurring the debt, that spouse may get absolved of responsibility for it.
Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, especially if you have to deal with property division. If you’re facing a divorce, it’s important to understand the laws in your state and how they can affect your property.