EP 9: What is Separate and Marital Property?

Welcome to the ninth episode of Divorce and Your Money Podcast. Your host, Shawn Leamon, MBA and a Certified Divorce Analyst, discusses separate and marital property.

Property is what you own, e.g., money, house, cars, jewelry, and furniture. Separate and marital property are distinctly different, and the laws that govern them vary by state, but a few key points apply to each one.

Separate property is anything that you acquired, owned, or earned before your marriage, which means that what you earned or owned before your marriage will not be divided as long as it stays under your name. It will still belong to you and not be a part of any settlement.

Marital property, however, is property that is acquired, owned, or earned during your marriage. Anything that you and your spouse earned together falls into this category, and these assets will be divided between you and your soon to be ex-spouse. Such property is often subject to disagreements and complications.

Shown below are a few exceptions to what is considered marital property:

  • Inheritance acquired during marriage is considered separate unless it is placed in a joint account.
  • Gifts are generally considered separate property.
  • When both spouses agree to consider certain property as separate.

Financial issues often arise when considering the division of marital property, for example, a house, an investment account, or a car, which is why it is essential to know the difference between separate and marital property.

Key Learning Points

  • Property is what you own, e.g., money, house, cars, jewelry, furniture.
  • Laws that govern property during divorce vary by state.
  • Separate property is property you acquired, owned, or earned before your marriage.
  • Marital property is acquired, owned, or earned during your marriage.

Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Podcast. We hope the show helps you through one of the most difficult periods of your life. Shawn Leamon is also author of Divorce and Your Money: The No Nonsense Guide. One-on-one divorce coaching services are available at www.divorceandyourmoney.com.

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Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

Dallas, Texas

Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.