I don’t understand why my attorney keeps telling me that my spouse and I have “marital assets.” We have kept our money separate during the marriage (our own bank accounts, etc.), and only my name is on the house. Shouldn’t I be able to keep the house free and clear from my wife since it’s mine?
It does seem logical that if you have kept your finances separate, then they should remain separate in divorce. However, in Connecticut, absent a pre-nuptial agreement, that is not always the case. In general, assets purchased or accrued during the marriage are considered marital assets. For example, if the marital residence is in your name, and only you paid the mortgage and utilities, but your spouse took care of the children, worked part-time and used that money for food, vacations, home improvements, etc., then those are decisions you made together (whether or not you regret that now). Ultimately, the combination of what both of you contributed likely improved upon the marital asset (the home). It could be different if your spouse did not work and you disagreed with that and you documented that he or she needed to bring more income to the table and/or if there were no children to raise, etc.. However, even stay-at-home parents are contributing to the upkeep and maintenance of the marital residence in some way (most of the time). Essentially, if you have a long-term marriage, the Court is likely to tell you that whatever strategy you and your spouse worked out pertaining to the division of funds and how each of you contributed to the marital residence as a couple is the decision you made and you cannot now say that you disagreed with such. We often see this in situations where the parties have not always agreed upon finances and/or budget issues. If you are unsure as to whether your assets would count as separate, marital, or pre-marital, you should consult with an attorney and assess your options.
Wolf & Shore Law Group is here to help you make your family law matters easier, not harder. We are realistic and up front with our clients. We encourage potential clients to seek out a firm where they will feel comfortable and confident. Ever argue with a woman? Let Wolf & Shore Law Group go to work for you. Call us at 203.745.3151 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very Truly Yours,
Wolf & Shore Law Group
*The situations represented in our Dear Attorneys column are entirely fictional and any resemblance to a specific case is unintentional. We cannot, and will not, offer legal advice to anyone who is not a client. However, if you do have questions or concerns, you should contact an attorney at your convenience