Assets Acquired During the Marriage Are Considered the Property of Both Parties
Video Transcribed: My name is Brian L. Jackson, and I’m an Oklahoma Father’s Rights attorney with Dads.Law, we protect fathers’ rights in Oklahoma. Today I want to talk to you guys about the concept of marital property in Oklahoma. What is marital property and what is not marital property?
Anytime you get married, assets you acquire during the marriage as a general rule with some exceptions, are considered the property of both parties, it doesn’t really matter whose name is on it either, just as an aside. So for example, like your earnings, anything you buy with your earnings, any tangible property you acquire during the marriage typically is going to become marital property. Now, any property you bring into the marriage typically is not marital property.
So for example, if you already own your house, when you get married, that would be considered your separate property. That is not marital property. However, something to keep in mind is it is possible for something that starts out not as marital property to become marital property, at least in part, if the other partner contributes towards an increase in its value, or if a marital asset is used to increase its value.
So for example, using the house again, let’s say that you own your house. You get married and you owe a hundred thousand dollars on a mortgage on a $200,000 property.
If during the course of the marriage, you use your salary from your job to start paying down that mortgage. Well, your salary is considered a marital asset and when it goes into paying down the mortgage and acquiring equity, the equity acquired with that money maintains that quality as a marital asset.
And therefore that portion of the equity in the property is going to be considered a marital asset and it is divisible. And that’s the important thing to understand about marital assets, they are divisible.
Now, because the marital asset interest is equitable, it doesn’t require someone’s name to be on, like title good for example, or on a deed for a house, or on a bank account, in order for that person to have an interest.
What it really boils down to is the means of acquisition, was it acquired during the marriage and by the joint industry of the marriage? Now, there are some exceptions. If you had received an inheritance for example, while married, that’s typically treated as your separate property. Gifts to you personally are typically treated as your separate property.
And obviously anything you bring into the marriage like we were talking about before. But again, those assets might take on the character of marital property If you’re talking about a tangible asset, if it increases in value as a result of the joint industry of the marriage, or if you’re talking about something like money, if you co-mingled marital or non-marital funds with marital funds then non-marital funds can become marital funds.
So, those are some of the ideas behind marital assets and the most important thing to understand about marital assets is when you’re talking about a dissolution, that is if you get divorced, marital assets are what the court is going to be dividing. The court is looking to divide the assets of the marriage.
So, whatever has the character of a marital asset, the court will take that and equitably divide that between the parties. And that can get complicated when you’re talking about things where part of the value was accrued prior to marriage, and part of the value was accrued after marriage. That’s a problem with retirement accounts, it can sometimes be a problem with the real property because they appreciate in value over time, and if you make additional contributions then again it’ll go up in value.
So the result of that is that you may have it where it’s a mixed-asset, it’s partly marital and partly not marital. And then it’s a matter of figuring out which portion is marital and subject to division. Now that’s kind of what marital assets are and how they work.
The next time we come back I’m going to talk a little bit about how the marital assets are affected by the Automatic Temporary Injunction that comes into play when you file the divorce. And if you have questions about this concept or any other issues involving your assets, your marital, your property, whether it’s your separate property or whether it’s marital property, then you should go to dads.law, where fathers are not disposable. My name is Brian L. Jackson and I’m an Oklahoma father’s rights attorney.