Search Site

Can Separate Property Become Marital Property?

During the asset division process, your assets will be placed into two primary categories: separate property and marital property. The former refers to property owned by an individual spouse, such as property owned before the marriage. The latter refers to property acquired during the marriage and/or jointly owned by both spouses.

In addition to property owned before the marriage, separate property can include gifts or inheritance, property spouses agreed to be separate in writing (via a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement) or personal injury awards meant to compensate for pain and suffering.

But are there ever any circumstances in which separate property could become marital property?

  • Commingling: There are some circumstances in which separate property gets mixed in with marital property. If one spouse deposited proceeds from an account or investment they purchased before the marriage into their joint account, that money would be considered joint property, as it was commingled with marital funds.
  • Contributions: Portions of property (but not the entirety of the property) could become marital property if a spouse makes contributions that increase the value of that property. If, for example, one spouse owns real estate before getting married and never put their spouse’s name on the title and the couple then uses marital funds to make improvement, the other spouse would still have a claim to a portion of the value of the property despite not being on the title.

With every property division process, judges will carefully analyze anywhere there is a dispute or gray area to make a ruling on whether the property is separate or marital property.

For more information about the asset division process and guidance through your divorce, contact an experienced Minnesota divorce lawyer at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

Our Attorneys
Client testimonials
  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.


Contact us

Quick Contact Form