Unusual Marital Property for Division in Divorce

Usually, when a couple moves towards divorce or separation there come a few hassles related to the division of marital property. In general parlance, states use a set of rules called “equitable distribution” to divide a couple’s assets. Although, the distribution of the marital asset is done on fifty-fifty basis and each state has its own unique rules governing the allocation of assets during the divorce process which may vary significantly.

The concern comes when marital property includes some unusual assets which are hard to decide upon. These assets are those which fall in to a questionable category. Usually, anything that was acquired during the marriage may be considered marital property and thus a divorce asset.

Few of such odd assets or marital properties often include family pets, an interest over the earning of the spouse, life insurance, patents or copyrights or royalties over copyright, pending bonuses, damages obtained in personal injury lawsuit, travel rewards, lottery tickets, tax refunds etc. are considered to be divisible asset sometimes. Few such assets are mentioned below:

Security Deposit: When the parties make a security deposit upon leased property during the marriage, the right to return of that deposit when the lease ends is marital property.

Bonds & Mutual Funds: Bonds and mutual funds are generally treated as divisible assets, similar to investment stock.

Degrees and Licenses: Academic literature has long debated the proper classification of degrees and licenses; however the case law is relatively clear. In Michigan and New York by case law, and in Oregon by statute, degrees and licenses is divisible property. In all other states, they are not divisible property. Although, contributions to degrees and licenses are still a valid basis for an unequal division of other assets, however, and where divorce occurs shortly after completion of the degree or license, most states will award the contributing spouse some form of reimbursement alimony.

Dissipated Assets: Assets that were not owned at the time of divorce, but were dissipated in anticipation of the marital breakdown, can be treated as marital property and awarded to the spouse who dissipated them.

Likewise, there may be other such odd marital property which seeks contemplation over its division between the spouses during divorce.



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