As you go through your divorce, you're probably considering how much you're going to have to give your spouse. You know that you're going to have to divide your assets, but are they going to take everything you own? Can you keep things that you think of as yours? There are a lot of different things to think about here, including whether or not the items are separate property or marital property. One problem is that this status can change when those assets are commingled.
How can this happen?
Assets become commingled when they are mixed together and no one can determine which assets belong to which person. This means that the only way to divide them is to split them between the two of you. For example, maybe your parents left you an inheritance of $100,000. You know how much they gave you, but you put it in a joint bank account with your spouse. The two of you have been spending money out of that account – and adding more money to it – for the last five years. Now that you're getting divorced, you want to get your $100,000 back out, but it's been so thoroughly mixed with all the rest of the money that you own as a couple that it's impossible to determine what money is what. You can argue that you originally had $100,000, but your spouse may claim that they were also allowed to use it and that you spent it on joint bills or to buy joint assets. You need to know how this process works so that you can protect your assets. You also need to know what legal steps to take as things get divided up and your marriage ends.