When you hear the word “commingling” in the context of a marital property division dispute, it means that you and your spouse’s separate property got mixed up together in some way. In many cases, the commingling of initially separate assets during marriage can result in the marital estate absorbing the property — which, in turn, makes that property divisible between the spouses upon divorce.

How couples commingle their assets

Here are five ways assets can become commingled during your marriage:

  • You inherited money during your marriage, which initially would be considered as separate property, but you deposited it into a joint bank account. This money could now be absorbed into the marital estate.
  • Perhaps you purchased your family home before you got married. However, you and your spouse used assets in a joint account to pay for the marriage. The home could now be considered marital property.
  • Combining resources with your spouse in any way after your marriage to purchase various kinds of property would render that property a part of the marital estate.
  • You have a separate investment account, but you or your spouse contribute to the total of the account after marriage; this account could now be considered marital property.
  • If you borrow money — even if it’s borrowed from a family member — and you use this money to benefit your immediate family, both you and your spouse could be liable to pay that money back.

Have you and your spouse commingled assets?

Are you concerned that assets you believed to be separate have actually been absorbed by the marital estate — or your spouse is trying to access them — during your divorce? You may be interested to learn more about the marital property division process in Ohio. Courts generally make their decisions about asset division during marriage by considering the following factors:

  • How long you were married
  • What are your and your spouse’s joint and separate debts and assets, and what kinds of taxes apply to them?
  • Do one of you want to keep the family home?
  • While kinds of retirement benefits do you and your spouse have?
  • What types of commingling of assets have occurred during the marriage?
  • Other factors deemed relevant by the court

Learning more about divorce and marital property law will help you protect your legal rights while navigating your divorce in the most appropriate way possible.