What is marital property?

In dividing marital property, a court must first distinguish between marital and separate assets. When an asset is the separate property of one spouse, that increase in its value that occurred during the marriage is still marital property if the increase is due to the active involvement of one of the spouses, rather than simply passive appreciation. Assets accumulated when the parties cohabitated before marriage are not considered marital property.

Marital assets are typically valued at the time of trial or the date of entry of the divorce judgment. Thus all increases are considered marital property until the marriage ends (either through death or entry of a divorce judgment). But property received after a divorce may be considered marital property if the property was obtained by efforts that took place during the marriage.