What happens to property acquired before marriage, in a divorce?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What happens to property acquired before marriage, in a divorce?

My daughter owns a townhome and is getting married in about a month or so. If she was to get divorced, does her new husband have any rights to it?

Asked on September 29, 2018 under Family Law, Arizona


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, property acquired before marriage that is solely in the owner-spouse's name, remains seperate property. However, there are exceptions. For example, a home owned by one spouse prior to the marriage can present a problem since often both spouses contribute to its maintenance and mortgage payments during the marriage. In some states, such "commingling" of community and non-community assets converts the home to community property. In other states, the amount of equity in the home at the time of marriage remains the inheriting spouse's property, however the increase in equity value during the marriage is considered to be community property that belongs to both spouses. 

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