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3 types of nonmarital property

Property division is often a contentious part of divorce, and it can be complex if you and your ex have high assets. A pre- or postnuptial agreement may help clarify how to divide property, but if no such agreement exists, you and your ex will likely have to negotiate separation of your assets and property. It is worth noting that this is applicable only to that which constitutes marital property, though.

Not everything that a couple owns qualifies as marital property. Generally, anything that either spouse acquired over the course of a marriage is considered such, but there are three exceptions you should know about.

1. Inheritances

If one spouse happens to inherit money or property during the duration of the marriage, the inherited assets belong to only them. This means it cannot be subject to property division, and it remains the sole property of the original beneficiary. According to the Wall Street Journal, in order to preserve an inheritance, you should maintain all documentation indicating that the assets were willed to you and have this information ready to furnish.

2. Property owned before marriage

Any property that was owned prior to a marriage remains in the ownership of its original holder. While it may be difficult to take an inventory of all items you owned before getting married, this is the best way to determine what is yours and what should remain yours. Be as detailed as possible in recording origins and dates of acquisition.

3. Gifts

Gifts are yet another item that you cannot separate in the process of property division. If an asset has been specifically gifted to you and not your partner, it remains yours to keep. Just as you would with other property you intend to maintain, gather any documentation you have which supports your claim that an item was a gift to you.

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