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3 assets someone can keep as separate property in a divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Divorce |

The law in North Dakota requires a fair or equitable division of marital property. Spouses have obligations of support toward one another that give each an interest in the other’s income and resources. However, certain property is a separate property of one spouse.

Those assets are theoretically protected from division in a divorce as neither spouse has an interest in the separate property of the other. People need to know which assets belong to them separately if they want to protect those resources during a North Dakota divorce. The following assets are typically separate property for the purposes of asset division in North Dakota divorce proceedings.

Items owned before marriage

The later in life someone marries, the more resources they may have accumulated beforehand. Whether they bought a vehicle or started a retirement savings account, the resources people accrue before they get married typically remain their separate property in the event of a divorce. People may need to go over financial records very carefully to establish which resources are subject to division and which they can protect as their separate assets.

Inherited property and gifts

People from outside the marriage may bequeath property to one spouse when they die or may give valuable gifts to either spouse. Typically, inherited property and gifts can remain separate property of the spouse who received those resources from others. Even if they received the gifts or inherited the property during the marriage, they can still protect it from division when they divorce.

Assets protected with a prenuptial agreement

Sometimes, people know that they have valuable property that could be at risk if they divorce before they ever marry. Real estate, business holdings and other high-value assets require the protection of a prenuptial agreement before someone gets married. The terms of a prenuptial agreement can help someone convince the courts that certain assets belong solely to them after the divorce.

Separate assets can sometimes be at risk of division if people commingle marital property with separate property during a marriage. Those who recognize which assets are not subject to division can use that information when negotiating asset distribution with a spouse or planning their finances for the future. Understanding North Dakota’s rules for property division can help people know what to expect during a divorce.

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