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What Happens To My Premarital Assets In A Divorce?


Premarital pensions and 401(k) investments are usually not divided. If some contributions to a pension or 401(k) were premarital and others were made during the marriage, then there is a mechanism by which the premarital portion can be separated from the marital portion.

It is a bit more difficult to deal with assets such as vehicles, furniture and houses because there is the issue of co-mingling and transmutation. For example, if a spouse has a highly valuable antique chair that they market as theirs, store in the garage as theirs and keep separate from the marriage, then they would likely be able to keep it after the divorce. However, if the spouse were to bring that chair into the home and it is used by their spouse and family members, then it will be considered to have been commingled with the marriage and its value would have to be shared upon divorce.

Things that shouldn’t be divided between spouses include inheritances and awards made for pain and suffering in a personal injury case that are kept in a bank account separate from the marriage and are not accessed to support the marriage or routinely used to purchase items such as groceries.

In some cases, a premarital home will turn into a marital home. For example, if one spouse adds the other spouse’s name to the deed or marital income over the course of the marriage is used to pay taxes on the home or maintenance on the home, then an otherwise premarital home will likely be considered marital upon divorce.

What Are Reasons Someone May Seek A Modification After A Divorce Decree Has Been Finalized?

If there is an executed marital settlement agreement, then it will be nearly impossible for anyone to modify what happens to their assets or debts after a divorce has been finalized. Unless the parties mutually agree to modify something related to their assets after a divorce, a modification probably won’t happen.

In contrast, matters that concern child custody, child placement and child support are always modifiable, regardless of what’s in writing. Such matters can be modified by mutual agreement of the parties or by showing the court that there has been a significant change in circumstances related to the children and that the proposed modification would be in the best interests of the children. The need for modification is a natural occurrence because children grow, their needs and desires change, parties remarry, a parent may relocate, and families may blend.

Either party can request a modification to child support and have it reviewed every three years or any time there’s a significant change in circumstances, which is usually defined as a change in one party’s income to the extent that there is at least a 10% difference.

For more information on premarital assets in a Rhode Island divorce, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 401-589-5599 today.

Our senior attorney, Veronica Assalone, is proficient in Spanish, French, German, Italian and American Sign Language. Our office assistant speaks Spanish.