What is comingling?

Comingling is a term that will become important as you begin the property division portion of your divorce. 

According to the Cornell Law School, comingling means mixing assets with different ownership. For example, in a divorce, you have marital property and separate property. If you mix separate property with marital property, it becomes comingled. 

How comingling occurs

Before you marry, you have your own property. Once you marry, you still maintain your own property, but you also begin to gain marital assets. Along the way, you may comingle the property you had prior to the marriage with that you secure after the marriage. 

For example, you may have money from a savings account you had prior to the marriage that you use to buy a home for your new family. You have just taken the savings account assets and comingled them with the house, which is marital property because you accrued it after your marriage. 

It is very easy to comingle assets without even thinking about it because you likely do not consider your property to be just yours. It is even easier as time goes on and the lines blur between what property you had coming into the marriage and what you have obtained since the marriage. 

Why comingling matters

Comingling really will not matter until you get a divorce. At that time, the court will need to divide your property. Any property that you owed prior to the marriage is your separate property. All other assets are marital and the court will split them. If you have comingled your separate property with marital property, the court could rule it all marital property, which is the biggest issue with comingling assets.