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Are separate assets absolutely exempt from property division?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | Property Division

In Hawaii, courts consider certain assets as separate, which are typically exempt from divorce property division. These separate assets may include property a spouse acquired and owned before the marriage and inheritances and gifts they received individually, before or during the marriage.

However, while separate properties are generally exempt from divorce property division, this rule is not absolute.

When the nature of assets becomes blurry

Sometimes, the distinction between separate and marital property becomes blurry. For example, if a spouse commingled separate property with marital property or if both spouses contribute to the maintenance or increase in value of a separate property, the court may treat that separate asset as marital property and include it in the division.

When there is an existing agreement

In some instances, separate property can be part of a divorce property division if spouses have a valid settlement or prenuptial agreement which includes provisions of its division.

The court usually allows and respects those terms as long as both spouses entered into the agreement freely and with full disclosure, and as long as it is not unconscionable or otherwise violates the law or public policy.

Note, however, that the interpretation and enforcement of these agreements depend on the specific circumstances of the divorce and the applicable property division state laws.

Find clarity about your divorce property division

Complex issues typically accompany the property division process of a divorce. Hence, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and lost. Nonetheless, adequate research and proper guidance from a legal representative knowledgeable in the ins and outs of a divorce property division can help you find the answers and clarity you are looking for.

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