Understand when Marital Property becomes separate property.

All of your personal and real property is yours only if you own it together.Unless something is done to convert that property to marital property, it will remain yours when you marry.It is considered marital property when you earn and acquire income and property during the marriage.

Step 1: Make a note of the property that is married.

Unless you agree otherwise, everything you earn or acquire during your marriage is yours to keep.Your income and money used to pay household bills are part of your spouse's property.You purchased a vehicle from your joint account.

Step 2: Determine which non-marital property it is.

The property that belongs to one spouse is called separate property.Property obtained in one spouse's name and never used for the benefit of the other spouse are examples of separate property.

Step 3: Find out if your state is a common law state.

If your name is on the title paper, you are in a common law state.It is your separate property if you have a deed or registration.If an item doesn't have a title document, you own it if you bought it or received it as a gift.

Step 4: Determine if your state is in a community law state.

If you don't have a common law state it's likely a community law one.Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin are community law states.Community law states that spouses own equally almost all property acquired during the marriage.Half of each partner's income is owned by the other partner.Debts incurred during the marriage are debts of the couple together.Community law states that separate property includes gifts given to one partner and property owned before the marriage.

Step 5: You should watch out for co-mingling non-marital property.

Non-marital property can be co-mingled.It will likely make sense to put non-marital money into a joint account.If non-marital proceeds are used to pay expenses, they can become married.

Step 6: It's a good idea to be cautious about spending money.

A partialmarital interest in that asset can be created by doing so.The improvement is likely to be considered a marriage.There is a difference between active and passive appreciation of an asset.There is passive appreciation of a non-marital asset.When the non-marital asset increases in value without any action, it's called passive appreciation.When an asset goes up in value without making improvements, it's called passive appreciation.Marriage can be affected by the appreciation of a non-marital asset.An act by either party to the marriage increases the value of a non-marital asset.

Step 7: Modifications to loans can convert non-marital property to married property.

Marriage is a good time to modify a home loan.Even if the home came into the marriage as non-marital, a second mortgage or home equity loan could wipe it out.