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Do you keep the money you brought to the marriage?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Family Law

Money that you and your spouse earned during your marriage typically counts as a marital asset. You both have access to this income, so the earnings need to be divided during a potential divorce. If your marriage ends, you split up the money that you own jointly, along with other assets like a home, a car or a business.

But what about the assets that you brought to the marriage? Maybe you already had $100,000 in an account when you got married. Your spouse has now asked for a divorce, and you want to take your $100,000 with you. Do you get to keep it just because you earned it prior to marriage?

The status can change

In some cases, the answer is yes. Assets owned before marriage are separate assets, so they don’t need to be divided in divorce.

But the trouble with financial assets is that this can change. For instance, maybe you simply commingled the $100,000 by putting it into your shared bank account after you got married. If the money wasn’t exclusively yours, but was shared during the marriage, then it may have become a marital asset.

Another example is if you used the money to buy something jointly. Perhaps you used the hundred thousand dollars as a down payment on a family home. The family home is a marital asset that has to be split up, so you have changed the status of the money you initially invested.

Divorce can get very complicated when looking into these types of financial issues. Be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take.