How to avoid commingling assets

How to avoid commingling assets

On behalf of Johnson, Sclafani & Moriarty, Attorneys at Law posted in High Asset Divorce on Wednesday, December 20, 2017.

Most couples don’t think about separate versus marital property when they marry, unless they both have considerable assets of their own and/or get a prenuptial agreement. However, it’s important to understand those two concepts. For divorcing couples, determining ownership of marital property is an essential part of property division.

Even property that starts out as separate property may get commingled and at least some portions of it will be treated as marital property. For example, if you own a vacation home on the Cape when you marry, but your spouse makes part of the mortgage payments or contributes funds for renovations, some of its value becomes marital property. Dividing it in the divorce can thus become a complex matter.

Maybe your spouse has a $100,000 bank account in his name. If you make deposits to the account occasionally, you can make a claim that it’s now commingled property.

Most couples commingle at least some assets during their marriage. However, if you bring assets into the marriage that you want to ensure remain yours alone and can’t be divided if the marriage ends, it’s essential to avoid commingling. This requires careful record-keeping, but it can be well worth it.

Besides the two scenarios mentioned above, there are other ways in which couples commingle assets without realizing it. For example, if you purchase something that you want to remain separate property, use funds from an account that’s also separate property. Keep a record (such as the copy of a check) showing how the property was paid for.

If you make payments on a loan for something that you’ve designated as marital property, like your home or boat, don’t use funds that are your separate property. For example, don’t write a check from your personal account.

Your Massachusetts family law attorney can provide additional guidance for avoiding unintentional commingling of assets, even if you choose not to get a prenup. This can help you preserve what you brought into the marriage so that you keep it if the marriage ends.

Source: LiveAbout, “Divorce and Commingled Funds,” Cathy Meyer, accessed Dec. 20, 2017