Upon filing for divorce, many decisions need to be made. Couples will have to decide on marital issues either in court or in private during mediation sessions. In order for a court to divide the properties of two former spouses, they must establish the difference between marital property and separate property to ensure the division is done fairly. This will help to decipher what was gained as property during the marriage and what was previously owned by each individual prior to marriage. Marital property is considered to be property that is brought into the marriage or acquired during the marriage. It is not individually owned by one spouse. This means that it can be involved in the division of the assets. A couple may begin their marriage by buying a house together, which can be considered marital property since it was intended to be for the benefit of both individuals and was purchased based on the marriage.
Separate property is qualified as assets that were bought before the marriage and were not agreed upon to be brought into the marriage. However, this can become a complicated matter. When couples mix their assets during the marriage or if an asset gains value during that period of time, separate property may not stay entirely separate. Assets can gain value due to the cooperation and financial resources of the marriage. Inheritance is an asset that is handled in a fact-based manner by the courts. If inheritance is acquired during the marriage but is a separate entity, then it may be considered as separate property.
What is equitable distribution?
Equitable distribution is a process that is used to divide the assets that are considered marital property. This means that the assets of a divorced couple should be split in a fair and just manner under the court’s discretion. However, this does not necessarily mean that the assets will be split in an even manner. The court will decide what they believe to be fair. When deciding how to split assets, the court will consider many factors. These factors can include the duration of the marriage, the standard of living, the value of the marital assets, the health and age of both parties and the earning capacity and income of the couple. The allocation of assets can be impacted by the contribution of each party, tax consequences and an individual’s financial situation.
Matters of divorce and family law should be navigated with the guidance of an experienced attorney. If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.