Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Transmutation Definition:

The conversion of a separate property asset into marital property intentionally or by virtue of words and actions during marriage.

Many jurisdictions permit, either contractually or by statute, or both, persons in a marriage to acquire and retain separate property.

However, by their actions, words, or very intentionally, a husband or wife can transmute separate property to marital property.

In Schmitz, Justice Fabe of the Alaska Supreme Court wrote:

"[A] spouse's premarital separate property can become marital through transmutation or active appreciation. Transmutation occurs when a married couple demonstrates an intent, by virtue of their words and actions during marriage, to treat one spouse's separate property as marital property. Active appreciation occurs when marital funds or marital efforts cause a spouse's separate property to increase in value during the marriage...."


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