You and your partner may just decide to just split your property 50-50 without court intervention.
But this isn’t always possible. One may believe more of the shared assets belong to him or her, and the other may strongly disagree.
That’s where a divorce lawyer comes in. They can draw the line that is fair and standard for both parties in accordance with the divorce law of Malaysia.
And we can help you get the hang of this through our guide here. So, keep reading to know how a property should be divided during a divorce in Malaysia.
Three Categories of Matrimonial Properties
Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act 1976 says that concerning divorce, a property can be categorized under any of these three types: matrimonial, non-matrimonial, and property owned before marriage.
Let’s take a look at each of them and how they affect property division:
1) Matrimonial Property
This pertains to the property purchased through the shared finance or effort of the two parties in the marriage.
Note that this also includes other property that isn’t considered separate from the spouses, such as cars, boats, artwork, and furniture.
2) Non-Matrimonial Property
It’s the opposite of matrimonial property. This includes all the property that was bought separately by either of the parties during the marriage.
Non-matrimonial property includes certain gifts, inheritance, and money. In this case, they are not intended to be given to the marriage, so one party may choose not to share them with the other.
Contrary to reason, what first appears to be a non-matrimonial property can still be shared even if it’s under one party’s name only. That can happen in case the court interprets the property as matrimonial because of the spouse’s contribution or the needs of the children according to the law.
And even a car bought with your own money may be included in the division of ownership if the court rules as such.
3) Property Acquired before Marriage
The third type is property that is acquired before marriage. Mostly, it’s not considered to be matrimonial property.
However, if this same property has been largely improved on by either of the parties during the marriage, the court can also deem it a matrimonial property. This is stated in section 76(5) of the Law Reform (Marriage & Divorce) Act.
So the percentage of share a spouse will get depends on the court’s decision. As you have seen, the court will base its division of marital property on the three categories we’ve discussed here.
To recap, even what first appears as non-matrimonial property and property acquired before marriage can become matrimonial property should the court consider it as such.
The court aims for the fairest solution to the division of relationship property between the parties, which relies on these factors:
- Contributions by both parties in the form of assets, money, or taking care of the children
- The debt of the spouse concerning their shared property
- The needs of the children under 18 years old
Because determining which of the marital assets goes to which party can get complex, it’s helpful to get them in writing. Some may opt for a co-ownership agreement.
Even if a couple is not getting divorced, they can organize their assets under it. Their rights and responsibilities are indicated there to prepare for future scenarios.
After all, there’s no certainty in life, even if we always strive to do our best no matter how bad conditions get.
With all these, a divorce lawyer can help solve the problem for you while reducing your emotional burden. They can come up with an optimal solution that seeks what’s best for you and your spouse.