During a typical divorce, there are protected assets that are not subject to the usual property division rules. You need to know what these properties are so that you aren't required to share them with your spouse. Here are some of the properties that belong to this protected group:
If you own a property that you received as a gift, then you will be able to count it as separate property during asset division. You just need to prove that the property is a gift by, for example, producing the deed that the giver used to turn the property's ownership to you. For example, if your parents gifted you a vacation home at the coast, you won't have to share it with your spouse during the divorce as long as you can prove the gift status of the home.
Just like gifts, inherited property is also treated as separate property. Again, you cannot just claim that your father's car is an inheritance if you can't show the trust or will that bequeathed the car to you. This means your inherited property may be treated as marital property if you can't prove that you inherited it.
Property obtained prior to marriage will also be treated as separate assets if you can prove them as such. For example, if you bought a painting before you got married, the painting will still be your separate property during the divorce.
Lawsuit Settlement Award
A personal injury award is also treated as a separate property and protected from property division during divorce. For example, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident in a mall and the mall awarded you damages, the damages won't be subject to asset division laws if you divorce.
Property Protected by Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements
Some couples sign prenuptial (before marriage) agreements or postnuptial (after marriage) agreements that contain, among other things, what is considered separate or marital property. As long as such an agreement is legally binding, it can be enforced by the court, and any property in the list as the separate property will be treated as such.
Income Derived From the Above Properties
Lastly, the income derived from a separate property will also be considered as separate property during a divorce. For example, if you inherited rental properties from your grandparents, the income from those properties are also your separate assets. You just have to prove that you haven't comingled the properties or their income with your marital properties.
Contact a law firm like the Law Offices of Helen Allen for more information