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Can you reclaim commingled assets before a Pennsylvania divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2024 | Property Division

When you’re married, it can be easy to mix up marital and separate assets when making investments or depositing funds in various accounts. Commingled assets can be a source of anxiety when you realize that your marriage might be headed for a divorce.

Dividing marital assets is hard enough without having to trace separate assets that were commingled with marital assets. But can it be done? Can you reclaim commingled assets before a Pennsylvania divorce?

What are commingled assets?

Commingled assets are essentially a blend of separate and marital assets. Suppose you owed a residential property before marriage but used marital funds to renovate it during the marriage; the property becomes a commingled asset.

Similarly, if you maintained a personal savings account before marriage that your spouse later contributed to during the marriage, it also becomes commingled. Essentially, commingled assets start off as separate property but become intertwined with marital assets through various means.

Pennsylvania law considers a number of elements when determining the extent of commingling. First, the court will look into the original value of the separate asset prior to marriage. Secondly, the amount of marital funds that commingled with the separate asset is crucial. Lastly, the appreciation of the asset in the course of the marriage is pertinent.

Tracing and documentation

Reclaiming commingled assets before divorce requires proving that they were originally separate property. In other words, you’ll need to trace the source of various sources to establish that they belonged to you first before marital funds commingled with them.

For this process, you’ll heavily rely on thorough documentation, which can include retrieving pertinent financial records before and during the marriage. The goal is to establish a traceable paper trail of how the separate property was acquired and how it was commingled with marital property.

If you have a prenuptial agreement, this document can be crucial in determining what was separate property before the marriage. This can significantly simplify the division of commingled assets during a divorce.

While reclaiming the entire value of a commingled asset might be difficult, there are strategies a reliable legal team can use to help protect your financial interests. By seeking legal guidance, you can more effectively trace and address separate property that has been commingled with marital property.

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