If you’re considering or currently going through a divorce in Oklahoma, you may know that one issue you will need to address with your spouse is property division. It may be possible to enter an agreement with your spouse on assets, but a court will make a determination on divvying up assets if you can’t reach an accord. In doing so, the first question is whether the item is marital or non-marital property. The distinction is critical under state law, so consult with a dedicated Oklahoma divorce lawyer about the specifics of your situation.
Overview of Marital and Non-Marital Property Under Oklahoma Divorce Law
When you and your spouse married, you each brought your own assets into the relationship. At the same time, you acquired property during your marriage. Property division in a divorce takes into account the shared and separate items, terming the assets marital and non-marital respectively.
Contrary to the popular assumption that the term refers only to real estate, “property” can also include a wide range of belongings, such as:
- Cars, boats, RVs, and other recreational vehicles;
- All types of bank accounts;
- Stock and investment accounts;
- Ownership interests in a business;
- Jewelry, art work, and collections;
- Furniture; and,
- Many other tangible and non-tangible assets.
An Important Distinction
A court will look at each individual item to determine whether it should be considered marital or non-marital property. Generally, any asset you owned before the marriage is non-marital; income and property you acquired during your marriage is marital. There are exceptions under certain circumstances, such as for inheritances and purchases made with funds owned before the marriage; these are often determined to be non-marital.
The distinction is important under Oklahoma law because a court is required to fairly and equitably split only marital property between spouses in a divorce. A judge cannot make a division of non-marital property. At times, property division will impact decisions on alimony and child support as well.
At times, it will be clear whether an asset is marital or separate, but the line may not be so clear-cut for other pieces of property. The rules governing marital versus non-marital property can be complicated, but an experienced attorney can help you understand how the law works. If you have questions about property division matters in a divorce case, please contact the Oklahoma City Law Offices of Robert R. Robles at (405) 232-7980. We can schedule a consultation to go over the details of your matter and discuss your options.