Divorce is a complicated and emotionally charged process. It will not surprise you to learn that property division is often one of the most contentious processes in a Rhode Island divorce. If you are facing the end of your marriage, you may be wondering what will happen to your personal property and how you can secure a strong future.
One of the most important steps in the property division process is to determine what is separate property and what is marital property. Marital property is anything you accumulated over the course of your marriage, and it is eligible for division between the two spouses. Separate property is yours, and your spouse does not have a claim to it.
What determines separate property and marital property?
Just because you think something is yours does not necessarily mean that you will get to keep it or keep all of it. All marital property is subject to division in a divorce, and this includes anything that either spouse bought, accumulated or collected over the course of the marriage. It also includes retirement and long-term savings.
Separate property is what you get to keep, yet there are often disagreements between spouses over what qualifies as separate property and marital property. Some types of things that are normally separate include the following:
- An inheritance you received while married or before marriage
- Gifts given just to you during or before you married
- Things you bought with separate assets, which you then kept separate
- Property you owned before you got married
- Money you received as an award from a personal injury claim
- Property you bought during marriage not used by the other spouse
An assessment of your case can help you understand what property is separate and how you can protect your property interests during your divorce. The terms of your final order are important, and it's in your interests to pursue a strong and stable future.
It's easy during a property division dispute to think about what you want in the moment or how you feel about your spouse. These feelings, however, may not reflect what is actually best for you long-term. Before you agree to anything or make important choices, it is smart to consider what will work for you years in the future.
You do not have to fight for your long-term interests alone. You will find it beneficial to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your options and pursue a fair outcome.