Sometimes, when trying to divide assets during a divorce, couples will run into an issue where certain assets have been commingled. This indicates that they have been mixed with other assets, and it can be problematic for a few different reasons.
For example, perhaps you’ve received an inheritance from your parents. When you received it, you put it into a joint bank account. The inheritance may have been separate property if you had kept it for yourself, but commingling it means you may have to split it with your spouse. They had access to the money while you were married, and so that gives them a right during the divorce.
Why does mixing assets change them?
Mixing assets changes them because it’s just too difficult to unmix them again during the court case, and that would be unfair to the other spouse.
In other words, if you kept your inheritance during the marriage and told your spouse that they couldn’t use it, you don’t have to relinquish control because of the divorce. But if you did allow them to use that money, then they have some level of ownership, even if your marriage ends.
Additionally, commingling can lead to disputes about what money was even in the account. For instance, say that you had a bank account where you were saving money for a down payment on a house. You put the inheritance check into that account. You then bought a house, using the down payment.
Years later, when you get divorced, was the money that you used for the down payment the money from the inheritance or the other money that was already in the account? It’s impossible to know, so anything within that account needs to be divided.
If your divorce has gotten confusing or contentious, it’s very important to know about all of the legal options at your disposal.