Separate or Marital Property?
A few practical examples illustrate the logic behind designating property separate or marital.
Suppose, right after her wedding to Rufus, Rhonda’s great-aunt leaves her a Tiffany’s jade necklace appraised at $5,000. That inheritance is Rhonda’s separate property. By the same logic, that big-screen television set Rufus got from his brother as a birthday gift belongs to Rufus and is his separate property.
However, when Rufus deposits a $10,000 gift from his folks in his and Rhonda’s joint checking account, that money becomes community property and is marital. And in a community property state, if Rufus buys a motorcycle for himself with money from his income, that motorcycle is community property because he bought it with money earned during he marriage.
Rhonda’s part-time travel agency, which she started before she married Rufus, may become part community property because Rufus can demonstrate that during their marriage he added value to the business.
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