Idaho is among a handful of states known as community property states. Because of its designation as a community property state, many believe that, in the unfortunate event that they go through a divorce, all of the property they own is divided equally between them and their soon-to-be ex-spouse. While that is the case with some couples' property, it does not unequivocally apply to each and every piece of property in the marriage.
Idaho law recognizes a distinction between marital property and separate property. In a divorce action, marital property is split between the spouses while separate property goes independently to the owning spouse. Generally, any property either spouse owned before the marriage is considered separate property. Separate property also usually consists of items a spouse receives as a gift or individually inherits, even if it is during the marriage. Additionally, if a spouse acquires new property during the marriage through the proceeds of her separate property, that property likely remains her sole possession. The property that does not fall into those three separate property categories is generally considered marital property; however, property can change designations during the marriage.
Despite the law identifying which property is marital property and which property is separate property, many divorcing couples continue to disagree as to what category some property falls into. It is important to have an attorney that can help a divorcing spouse navigate the sometimes-complicated community property laws. A diligent lawyer can help a spouse ensure that the division of property is fair, reasonable, and in accordance with the law. At Jones and Swartz, PLLC, we passionately advocate for our clients’ interests and our attorneys are there to answer questions about Idaho law every step of the way.