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SEPARATE PROPERTY IS COMMINGLED BY MARITAL USE

As a rule, property which is acquired before a marriage and kept separate is not considered marital property. This is true even if the property should later become titled in the name of the non-owning spouse. However, the character of the separate property can be changed from separate to marital by conduct of the parties during the marriage, such as use. In the recent case of Rhodes v. Rhodes, No. 2009–CA–00555–COA (Decided January 11, 2011), Mr. Rhodes had purchased a vacation home in Florida several years before the marriage. During the marriage, Mrs. Rhodes vacationed in the home and later stayed in the home after hurricane Katrina damaged the parties’ Gulfport home. The court found that the home was converted from separate property to marital property by “family use,” and was therefore subject to consideration in the equitable division of property.