When a couple enters into a marriage, they each bring with them their own assets or properties. However, some couples may wish to retain single ownership over their estate rather than sharing such assets with their spouses. This type of arrangement refers to the legal concept of separate property. This provides some form of security for a spouse in the event that the marriage is dissolve.
The idea of separate property allows a person in a marriage to keep his or her assets separate from those that he or she shares with his or her spouse. In the event of a divorce, annulment, or separation, the assets placed in a separate property are not considered to be part of the assets that need to be divided between husband and wife. Thus, community or marital property is what is at stake in the event that a marriage is dissolved. This is because community or marital properties are jointly owned by the married couple, rather than a single spouse.
It is generally recognized that any property that was owned before the marriage occurred is considered as separate property, while any assets acquired during the marriage is part of the community or marital property. Despite this, there are some general exceptions to this rule. For example, a spouse may own a business prior to the marriage. However, the other spouse may be entitled to a portion of the business earnings that were acquired during the marriage because he or she may have contributed in some way in the business’ earnings.