Asset Characterization

Generally, assets acquired before marriage, after separation, or by gift or inheritance to one party alone, are separate property of the owner. Of course, during the marriage there may be comingling of assets. Sometimes comingling assets can transmute or change the character of the property, however there may still be reimbursements due. For instance, it is quite common for a married couple to buy a house together and often the down payment may come from the sale of a party’s separate property – say, the sale of motorcycle that one party owned prior to marriage. That party may be owed a pro rata share of what that separate property contribution has grown or shrunk with the market. Another common scenario is where one party owned the house prior to marriage (presumed separate property), but then made mortgage payments during marriage with money earned during the marriage.