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Is that marital asset really ‘your’ property? (Maybe not)

Dividing marital assets can get complicated. People sometimes argue over who should get which assets, even when an outsider would clearly note that they both have a right to those assets. In some cases, the issue is the way that people think of these assets versus the way that the assets were actually acquired.

For instance, there are some assets people often do not argue about, such as the family home. A couple that bought a house together understands that they both own it and, to divide it, they’ll likely have to sell the home and divide the proceeds.

Where this gets tricky is when one person uses an asset that was purchased jointly. For example, perhaps each person has their own car that they use to commute to work. For one, it’s just a vehicle, a way to get from Point A to Point B. They use that car the most, but they don’t care about it.

For the other, though, it’s more than that. This person decided to buy their dream car. They drive it every day. They’re emotionally invested in this vehicle that they have wanted since childhood. Their spouse has ridden in it but never driven it. The person who does drive it definitely thinks of it as their vehicle.

If the couple bought that car together, though, it’s still a marital asset. They both own it. They both put money into it and have a claim to the value of that vehicle when dividing assets. Who technically drives it doesn’t matter.

If you’re in a complicated divorce, be sure you know what rights you have when it comes time to divide the assets and debts. Talk to an experienced advocate so that you understand your options.

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