Marital Property: I Paid For Everything! Why Should My Spouse Get Anything?!?

Marital Property: I Paid For Everything! Why Should My Spouse Get Anything?!?

Many people go into a marriage and never fully commit to the marriage being a joint effort.  They keep separate bank accounts.  They divide up their bills so that the husband pays certain bills and the wife pays certain bills.  Even if they do not go the point of keeping everything divided, in their mind nothing ever becomes “ours.”  Everything is thought of in terms of mine and the other spouse’s.  Those people get a very rude awakening when they go through a divorce.

In Kentucky, a court is going to presume that anything that is acquired during the marriage is marital property.  The few exceptions are property or money that is acquired during the marriage as a gift, an inheritance, income derived from pre-marital property without any joint efforts of the parties, or property/income that can be traced back to one of those types of properties.  That means that money you earn through your employment is marital property.

When you spend that money to purchase things or make a payment on the house or car, you are accumulating marital property.  Marital property is what the court divides in a divorce case.  Regardless of whether your spouse also directly contributed money from his/her income to purchase the thing or make the house or car payment, he/she will be entitled to a share of that property.  Courts take a very broad view of what is marital property and how it should be divided.  Even when one spouse does not work outside of the home, the court is required to consider the contributions that spouse made to the marriage as a homemaker and stay-at-home parent.  Therefore, unless absolutely everything that was acquired during the marriage was paid for with non-marital funds, it will be divided by the court.

When you get married very little you acquire during the marriage remains “yours” or “mine.”  Most everything becomes “ours.”  Understanding this will make it much easier for you to get your case resolved quickly and efficiently.

Photo courtesy of David Goehring

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