Are my earnings from my job that I earned during the marriage marital property?
Black’s Law Dictionary defines “marital property” as follows:
Property that is acquired during marriage and that is subject to distribution or division at the time of marital dissolution. • Generally, it is property acquired after the date of the marriage and before a spouse files for separation or divorce.
Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014)
Turner, Brett R., 1 Equitable Distribution of Property 3d § 5:22 (Chapter 5. Classification II. Burden of Proof), November 2017 Update:
In theory, marital property is any property acquired during the marriage. Under source of funds principles, this translates to any property or interest in property created through use of marital funds or active marital efforts.
In practice, what types of property are so acquired? The most common example by a large margin is salary paid for work performed during the marriage by one or both spouses. In all dual-classification jurisdictions, salary earned during the marriage is marital property.1
Generally, assets earned by a spouse during the marriage are properly considered part of the marital estate and are subject to division upon divorce, and assets earned by a spouse during the marriage are properly considered part of the marital estate; this is true whether the assets are received during the existence of the marriage or after the judgment of divorce. Skelly v. Skelly, 286 Mich. App. 578, 780 N.W.2d 368 (2009).
Disability and workers’ compensation benefits paid to one spouse and intended to compensate the spouse for income and earning capacity lost during the parties’ marriage constitute marital property. Stern v. Stern, 636 So2d 735 (Fla App 1993). Where during the parties’ marriage a spouse became entitled to a workers’ compensation award, the award was marital property to the extent that it compensated the spouse for earnings lost during the marriage, while the award was the spouse’s separate property to the extent that it compensated the spouse for loss of a body part or for lost earnings attributable to a time period after the end of the marriage. Whether the spouse actually received the funds during the marriage was not determinative. Hartzell v Hartzell, 90 Ohio App3d 385, 629 NE2d 491 (1993).
Keiter v. Keiter, 235 P.3d 782 (Utah Court of Appeals 2010):
[I]ndeed, earned income from employment or from rendering professional services during a marriage falls within the usual definition of marital property. See Dunn v. Dunn, 802 P.2d 1314, 1317–18 (Utah Ct.App.1990) (“Marital property is ordinarily all property acquired during marriage and it ‘encompasses all of the assets of every nature possessed by the parties, whenever obtained and from whatever source derived.’ ”) (citation omitted); id. at 1318 (discussing that “accounts receivable, tangible assets, and goodwill of a professional practice …, to the extent they were accumulated during the marriage,” are considered marital in nature, even where the practice was started prior to the marriage) (emphasis added).
Other than the Keiter v. Keiter case, there is not much actual Utah law on the subject of whether a spouse’s earned income is marital property, but this is likely due to the fact that it appears so obvious and established a concept as to need no codification.
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