Experienced Phoenix divorce lawyer discusses premarital assets and what happens to the personal property you acquired prior to the marriage.
We see clients that come in for counsel regarding a dissolution of marriage and as it relates to that marriage, one party, or both parties, had property, be it through an inheritance, or they won the lottery or they were just well off before they got married, it’s property that they accumulated prior to the marriage; that’s their personal property. Then they’re married for whatever period of time and then they go through a divorce. While they’re married obviously they have some community property; their job, they may buy another marital residence, a house, a boat, motorcycle or whatnot. The question becomes when one party states a claim against, or claims to have some interest, if you will, in the personal property of the other party that was owned by them prior to the marriage.
Your personal property prior to the marriage remains your personal property, unless it was transmuted into community property and it was based on that understanding. Sometimes there’s co-mingling of the personal property and the community property. This is why I encourage people early on to make sure they trace the property. If the co-mingled property can be traced back to personal property, then broadly it would be separated out and remain personal property. It’s without controversy in this jurisdiction that what’s community property remains community property.
You would want to list out and your lawyer will sit down with you, give you a form where you get a chance to list out what is personal, what you believe to be personal property. If there is an interest that the other party claims in something that you deem to be personal property, then the lawyer would look at that and then they would go through tracing process and trace that property back, to see if it was transmuted into community property, or if it in fact remained personal property.
That, by all means, requires the skill of a lawyer to look at that and determine whether that remains personal property or if it’s been transmuted to community property. You would want to seek out a skilled family lawyer to help you through that process, to make sure that you don’t lose any interest in property that is actually a personal property and should remain personal property.
Are you considering divorce but have questions about the division of premarital assets? Call our dedicated Phoenix divorce lawyers for a free confidential consultation.