Diane McInnis, Barrister and Solicitor
This refers to assets or property acquired during the marital period. Property owned prior to marriage is excluded and property acquired after the date of separation (by choice or by death) is also excluded. Therefore, only the acquisition of assets which occurred during the marriage is shared. Assets that you owned prior to marriage is excluded from the sharing.
The exception to this is the matrimonial home. If you own a home before marriage, and the couple resides in it after marriage, it becomes the matrimonial home, and the value of the home is divided equally between the parties after separation. This is becoming a frequent issue as more and more people are marrying later in life, or second marriages.
How can yo u protect your assets from becoming matrimonial property?
Even i f a couple chooses not to enter into a marriage contract to deal with property, it is wise to exchange and agree on the value of assets owned at the date of marriage, so that information would be available, if you need it. Seek legal advice if you are not sure what to do.