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Ask Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP - The Lowdown on Marital Property

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Family Law

weddingQuestion: I am going to be getting married this fall. I currently own my own home as well as a rental property. Will I still be considered the "sole" owner of these properties once I get married?

This is a question that we hear a lot, unfortunately, sometimes it is after you've said "I Do." Before we go into too much detail, it is imperative to point out that upon marriage; all property is considered marital property regardless of how the asset is titled. If you wish to maintain any property as individually owned after you are married, you must enter into a comprehensive marital property agreement that delineates ownership of your assets under a variety of circumstances.

The Marital Property Actrecognizes that it takes both spouses to support a marriage, regardless of whether or not they are both earning a salary (or equal salaries). In general, the law states that whatever assets are brought to the marriage by both spouses and acquired during a marriage belongs, equally, to both spouses. This includes the debts of both spouses.

With that in mind, there are a few exceptions to the general rule that all property is considered jointly owned by both spouses. A court will consider any number of facts in its review to determine ownership of any asset. Some facts the court will consider are the length of marriage, the assets brought to the marriage and the contributions made by both spouses. If you believe your circumstances may support a deviation from the joint ownership rule it is important to maintain detailed records of ownership and acquisition of the asset(s) before and after you get married.

Because each case is unique, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a qualified attorney before your wedding to protect the status of ownership for your assets. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP team for more information.

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