Property In A Divorce
Who is legally entitled to what?
What is community property and separate property?
New Mexico is a community property state. This means that all assets and debts classified as community property will be divided equally between the parties by the Court.
This is commonly referred to as “she took half of everything.”
Separate property is the sole and separate property of the party that it belongs to. Which means each party will keep 100% of the debt or asset that is determined to be their separate property when the parties are divorced.
Community property is any property earned or acquired during the marriage.
Examples of community property include a home purchased during the marriage, vehicles, bank accounts, savings accounts, stocks and bonds, all household goods and furniture and any business entity with all accompanying assets or debts associated with such business.
The majority of these items may be titled or listed in only one spouse’s name. This does not destroy the community nature of all of these items.
The only way to convert property out of the classification of “community” is if it qualifies as separate property.
HOW DOES LEGAL CUSTODY AFFECT PHYSICAL CUSTODY?
Separate property is any item owned or purchased prior to the marriage, inheritance of either party during the marriage, portions of personal injury settlements or workers compensation benefits, and all gifts to either spouse during the marriage.
These classifications can become quite complicated when you have assets and debts prior to the marriage that then become “ours” because you are married.
Often, many couples have a joint checking and joint savings account that they have been paying all of the bills from, even the bills that existed before the marriage.
This is why it is important to hire a skilled and knowledgeable attorney who can separate out what is exactly community or separate property and can advise you properly on how to proceed.