What Happens When You Purchase Something During the Marriage with Money You Had Before the Marriage?

Hi, I'm Dave Ward with the Ward Law Firm. One of the things that confuses people a lot is what happens when you use some money that you had before you got married to purchase something during the marriage? In order to understand the answer, you first have to understand that there are generally two types of property when you're talking about dividing up the assets of a marriage, there's marital property and separate property.

Stuff that somebody owned prior to the marriage is generally considered separate property. There are things that can happen that can change that, but generally speaking, it's considered theirs and their spouse has no claim to those assets. Conversely, there are marital assets, which are usually things that are acquired during the marriage.

The source of funds rule helps protect people's separate property by allowing a court to look at where money came from to do certain things. We see the source of fund rule operate most frequently in situations where there is a house and the equity has to be divided. What will happen is the courts will engage in a pretty complicated analysis of things. The ultimate goal is for the court to be able to determine the ratio of marital property versus non-marital property. The portion that is non-marital will go to the person who contributed it because they were the source of those funds. The rest is subject to being divided by the court. The source of funds rule is a very, very complicated rule and does require an extensive legal analysis, but that's kind of the long and short of how it works.

If you have any other questions about property division or anything else related to your case, give us a call. I'm Dave Ward with the Ward Law Firm...And we all help parents protect those things that are most important.