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Tulsa Divorce: Can I Keep Property I Owned Before Marriage Under Oklahoma Marital Property Law?

Oklahoma marital property lawYou may keep the property that you owned before you were married under Tulsa, Oklahoma marital property law in most cases.

All assets must be listed on the required financial statements during an Oklahoma divorce, even if you consider it your personal property.

You should include a note beside those items indicating that you feel they are not marital assets.

What are Shared Assets Under Oklahoma Marital Property Law?

Marital assets are defined as property that was acquired or earned during the marriage regardless of whose name it is titled in or who obtained it.

Each spouse’s separate personal property can become a marital asset in certain circumstances. For example, you owned a car and after you married, you added your spouse’s name to the title. By your action of adding your spouse, you made the property marital property.

Likewise, if you still owed money on the vehicle and marital income was used to make those payments, it may become a marital asset.

What is Considered Separate Personal Property?

Personal property includes, but is not limited to, vehicles, real estate, furniture, jewelry and other assets that were owned by you prior to marriage.

That property cannot be divided in an Oklahoma divorce unless it has become a marital asset by your actions or due to special circumstances exist.

Examples of Separate Personal Property

Inheritances, both before and during your marriage, and anything purchased with the inheritance.

For example, a vehicle purchased with proceeds from the inheritance and titled it in your name only.

If the inheritance was cash that you deposited into your joint marital banking account, you have co-mingled those funds and a judge could rule that the funds are a shared asset under Oklahoma marital property law.

A gift from a third party or from your spouse made directly to you if it was meant to be used by you exclusively.

Assets acquired prior to marriage that generate profit such as sale proceeds, rents, interest or dividends.

Note that if marital assets were used to increase the value of, for example, a rental property, it may not be classified as a separate personal property.

Personal injury settlements and other awards are generally separate property.

If the award included funds for lost wages or medical expenses paid out of marital assets, that portion of the award may be classified as marital assets.

Marital Property Distribution

Oklahoma is an equitable distribution state. This means that marital property will be divided in an equitable, rather than equal, fashion that is just and reasonable to both parties.

Oklahoma courts encourage divorcing spouses to work together to come to a settlement on division of assets and debts. If they cannot do so, the court will decide who should get what based factors such as how much each contributed during the marriage and what each of you will need to move forward with your separate lives.

The court does have the authority to award an asset to one party and require that the other spouse be paid a sum of money to make the division fair.

Special Circumstances

The court may decide to distribute assets that are determined to be your separate personal property if the court finds that it would be fair and just to both of you.

Special circumstances may arise if there are no marital assets and you have significant personal assets, if your spouse cannot work because of age, health or disability, or if it is found that you secretly used marital funds to support a girlfriend during the marriage.

The above are just a few examples. There are other special circumstances that could cause a judge to distribute a portion of your personal assets.

Free Consultation: Tulsa Divorce Attorney

Divorces can be complex and confusing. A Tulsa divorce attorney has the knowledge and experience to assist you in identifying separate personal property and representing you before the court. Schedule your free consultation today by calling Divorce of Tulsa Law Office at 918-924-5526.