What Is Considered "Separate Property"?

The following are things generally not considered to be marital property:

  • Assets accumulated while cohabitating prior to marriage
  • Property received as an inheritance by one spouse that is kept separate from marital property
  • Increases in the value of a separate asset that are the result of passive appreciation (e.g., interest)

Despite these general rules, however, separate property can be distributed as part of a property division in a divorce if the marital property to be divided is insufficient.

When one spouse repeatedly tries to hide assets from the other in contempt of court, the court is required to take punitive action against the wrongdoing spouse.