Hi. I'm currently in the process of trying to agree matrimonial assets under Scots Law.
Prior to marriage, but while co-habiting, I bought a car in my name. I separated 2 years post marriage while still owning the car. Is this car matrimonial property? What about shares acquired in my name prior to the marriage? Are these matrimonial assets?
I've had some initial legal advice which suggested that engagement and wedding rings comprise matrimonial property but my ex's lawyer is suggesting these were gifts and therefore not matrimonial property. Which view is correct.
There are four steps which should be considered before making a decision about the financial arrangements. Please note that matrimonial property is that which is accrued between the date of marriage and the date of separation.
The car was purchased prior to marriage, so unless it was jointly bought it is not a marital assets. I would also agree that the rings are gifts, and were most likely bought prior to the actual date of marriage.
1. Establishing the date of separation on which the married couple cease to cohabit as man and wife.
2. Identifying all the assets owned jointly or individually by a couple at the separation date including the house, furnishings, a car, pensions, savings and investments and any outstanding liabilities (mortgage, car finance, personal loans, credit card debts etc) in existence on the date of separation.
3. Determining any non matrimonial property by looking at the individual assets and seeing the circumstances in which they were acquired. Assets owned by either party before the marriage or those gifted or inherited are not matrimonial property.
4. Valuing matrimonial assets as at the date of separation, for example, by providing statements for savings, asking insurance companies for surrender valuations of endowments and pension providers for the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value. Endowment policies and pensions started before marriage are apportioned for the years of the marriage. It's best to have agreement before having the house valued by a Chartered Surveyor. The liabilities are deducted from the assets to provide the net value of matrimonial property.
As the car was bought prior to the marriage, it isnt a marital assets (if it was jointly bought, then you are both co-owners).
I would agree that the rings should be considered as gifts - did you buy both of them?
Does it matter if the car or rings were paid for from a joint bank account, but before the date of marraige? The car was paid out of the funds from a bonus I received but we may have had a joint bank account at the time. The car was in my name only.
The rings were paid for on a credit card in may name though my partner had access to to the credit card too. They were both purchased pre marraige.
Not worth fighting over, really, are they? You could spend more in solicitors fees arguing about this.
I suggest that you allow your wife to keep her wedding ring, you keep yours (you can always sell it if you wish) - if you have children, then she may like to keep the ring for them for when they are older.