When you first got married, you probably didn’t give a second thought to terms like equitable distribution. But when a marriage ends in divorce, it usually involves some tough and difficult decisions, including those that concern the fair division of property that the pair of you once shared when married. In an ideal situation, couples can work together to decide how property, assets, and debts are going to be split. But in some cases, that might not be possible due to disputes or complex issues, in which case, both spouses may have to work with an attorney to represent them, or even go to court and have a judge rule how the marital estate will be divided. Typically, there are three factors that have an important impact on how you decide to divide up your property.
The Type of Divorce:
There are actually different types of divorce, but most people don’t get the opportunity to thoughtfully decide on the type of divorce they would like to have. For those couples who are willing to work together, however, there are options available. In an uncontested divorce, both parties are in agreement when it comes to all the terms of the divorce and they file the papers with the court. There is usually no formal trial and this is the least expensive type of divorce. On the other hand, a contested divorce is where there is a lot of disagreement over assets, spousal support, and child custody. Each spouse needs to be represented by an attorney and a judge will oversee the case until it is settled. If you have a lot of assets and need to hire an attorney to represent you during your divorce, you can find more information here.
Property division is often a contentious issue during a divorce. State law will usually determine how your property is divided. Separate property belongs to only one spouse, for example, if you lived in the property before marriage or it was a gift or inheritance specifically given to you. On the other hand, community property is any assets that you both earned or acquired when you were married and this belongs to both of you.
Courts will divide property either through equitable distribution or community property, depending on the state where you live. In community property states, all marital property will be classified as either community or separate. During a divorce, each spouse gets to keep their separate property, while community property is equally divided between the spouses. On the other hand, equitable distribution states determine that all assets and earnings that have been accumulated during the marriage are divided fairly, but not always equally. Some states may require one party to include separate property in order to ensure that the settlement is fair to both parties.
Deciding who gets what in the event of a divorce can be a stressful situation. And while some spouses can come to an agreement on their own, others may be finding it difficult to settle. In this case, the best step to take is to get legal representation to help.