Marital Property


I married in 1995 and gave birth to two girls. During this marriage, their father and I each purchased separate term life insurance policies on each other. I owned the term life insurance on their father and I was beneficiary of this policy and vice versa for their father. This marriage officially ended in 2006. I maintained the term policy on their father. I remarried in 2007. In 2015, their father died and the term life insurance distribution was paid out to me, which I put in an individual account. My current husband assumes this is marital property. My estate attorney informed me it is not marital property, especially if term insurance was started prior to my current marriage and policy payments were paid from a separate individual account, which it was. This individual account was funded by sources including child support. I understand child support is not marital property.

I separated from my current spouse in January.

Are these funds marital property?


I would certainly make the argument that this is separate property. Separate property is defined by our statutes as:

“Separate property” means all real and personal property acquired by a spouse before marriage or acquired by a spouse by devise, descent, or gift during the course of the marriage. However, property acquired by gift from the other spouse during the course of the marriage shall be considered separate property only if such an intention is stated in the conveyance."

If you had invested the life insurance proceeds in a joint account that you were both able to freely access, he may be able to argue that essentially you ‘gifted’ the proceeds to the marriage. But as you have kept the proceeds in a separate account to which he has no access, I don’t see how he would succeed in arguing that you gifted the proceeds to the marriage.