What is Separate Property vs Marital Property in a Connecticut Divorce?
Wondering what is “separate” versus “marital” property in a Connecticut divorce? Surprise! There technically is no separate property or marital property in Connecticut. Read on to learn why — and what we have in Connecticut instead.
Why Isn’t There Separate Property or Marital Property in Connecticut Divorces?
Connecticut is an “equitable distribution” and an “all property” state. Separate property and marital property are concepts that come more from community property states.
Family courts in equitable distribution states like Connecticut divide marital property according to what is fair, or equitable, for both parties during a divorce. This isn’t the same as equal distribution. Equitable does not necessarily mean 50/50. The focus of equitable distribution the needs of each party and the facts of the case.
This is because, in addition to being an equitable distribution state, Connecticut is an “all property” state.
In a Connecticut divorce, family law courts have broad authority to award marital property to either spouse, regardless of:
- how it is titled
- when it was acquired
- or whether it was received as a gift or inheritance.
In Connecticut, all property is marital property. In theory, this means that everything owned by both spouses (and all debts owed by both spouses) is “fair game” or subject to division in a Connecticut divorce. This is what makes Connecticut an “all property” state, which means that everything the couple owns or owes is fair game when it comes to dividing things up in divorce.
What if I Like the Concept of Separate Property and Marital Property?
Many prenuptial agreements establish what will be considered separate versus marital property. If you have an enforceable prenup or postnup, that lays out this concept, in most cases the court will enforce that rather than Connecticut’s default equitable structure for property division in divorces.
What is Separate Property?
Simply put, “separate property” belongs to just one spouse. In some prenups and in most states with the concept, separate property includes things like gifts, inheritances, assets owned before the marriage, and property kept completely isolated from the couple’s joint assets.
What is Marital Property?
In most states, “marital property” is anything acquired during the marriage, regardless of how it’s titled or who earned it. As with separate property, unless there is a prenup that includes this concept, Connecticut also does not acknowledge marital property. Rather, everything a couple owns is property subject to division.
The Comprehensive Connecticut Property Division Guide
How to divide property is one of the most important issues in divorces. And, it’s one of the most confusing. There are no set formulas or rules on how property will be divided. The good news is that creates tremendous flexibility for experienced divorce attorneys to craft an individualized approach. In order to prepare to make solid and informed decisions, you need to understand how property division works. Our Comprehensive Connecticut Property Division Guide tells you everything you need to know about property division in Connecticut.
Now that you have learned that there technically is no “separate property” and “marital property” in a Connecticut divorce, what’s next? Property division in Connecticut, you know that it isn’t simple — which means there is a lot of opportunity for creative negotiations, strategy, and solutions — including prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. It’s important to have an experienced divorce legal team as your guide. Our first step at Freed Marcroft, the Goals & Planning Conference, is designed to get to the heart of your problem and unveil your true goals. Then, we take those goals along with the facts of your case and analyze them so that we can present you with recommendations and options on how to move forward.