In general, separate property is any property, real or personal, acquired before marriage, after divorce, by gift or inheritance during marriage, or during marriage with separate property funds. Further, any income made from a spouse’s separate property during the marriage is also usually considered that spouse’s separate property. Separate property issues generally arise in two scenarios: the death of a spouse or at divorce. After a spouse dies, a court will categorize the decedent spouse’s property as separate property or marital property for the purposes of distribution to the decedent’s beneficiaries. This distribution will depend on whether the decedent left a valid will or trust and the type and number of living family members the decedent has. During a divorce proceeding, one of the primary tasks of the court is to categorize all of the spouses’ property as either separate property or marital property. Categorizing this property is very important, as it will affect the distribution of property at divorce. When property is deemed a spouse’s separate property, the spouse will generally get to keep the entire property interest at divorce. Complexities arise when there is a mixture of both separate and community property. For example, a house that is acquired before marriage but the mortgage is paid down with community funds. That is why when you are dealing with a division of assets it is important to talk to the experts at Justice Legal Group to help you with your property questions.