Are you going through a divorce case? There are several things that make the divorce process complex and exhausting. Apart from emotional disturbance, there are other aspects that can affect your life if you are facing a divorce. One important aspect is the division of assets.
Understanding the division of assets in divorce process can make your situation better. At this time, it’s important to consult a divorce lawyer who will not only help you understand property division but also deal with other matters such as child custody, alimony, etc.
Things to Know About Property Division in a Divorce Case
Here you will know about how assets are divided by courts in divorce cases. After reading this article, you can go through the property settlement process smoothly and peacefully. Before going into detail, here are three important things to note:
- The court determines whether the property is marital or separate.
- If it’s marital, the court will divide between the spouses.
- If it’s separate, the court awards it to its owner.
Well, it seems very simple, but it’s not. The important question here is; how do courts determine whether the property is marital or separate? Although you will learn about the process in this article, it’s essential to hire a reliable and reputed divorce lawyer during property settlement.
How Do Courts Determine Property Division?
When it comes to property settlement, courts presume several factors to determine whether the property is separate or marital. If you disagree with the court’s presumptions, you need to provide essential evidence to support your arguments. Here is how courts determine property division:
- The courts presume that the property acquired during the marriage is marital property. Note that even if one spouse was not working or contributed anything during the acquisition of property, the court will presume it is marital property. Again, even if only one spouse has the name on the property, courts presume it as marital property. If you don’t agree with the court’s presumption, you need to provide enough evidence to prove that it’s not marital.
- If there are pension and retirement benefits during the marriage, then the benefits will be considered as marital property. The court will determine the portion of division based on either the present value method or the deferred distribution method.
- If a spouse owns the property before the marriage, the court determines it as separate property. Again, if a spouse inherited property or received a gift during the marriage, it will be considered as separate property of the spouse who received it.
- If a spouse exchanged any property for another property, the exchanged property would be considered as the separate property of the spouse who exchanged it.
- If there are any social security benefits, they are considered as separate property of the spouses.
Some Complex Situations
- In a more complex situation, when the value of the property increases during the marriage, the court will ask whether the property value increased due to the efforts of any spouse or due to economic factors. No matter who puts effort into the increase in the value of the property, the increased value will be presumed to be marital property. If the value increases due to economic factors, it will be considered separate property, and the spouse who owned the property will get the ownership rights after divorce.
- The academic or professional licenses cannot be divisible as marital property. In such a case, if both of them put effort into it, the court may order the spouse who owns the license to pay a cash reward to the other spouse.
These are some factors that you should consider when deciding the division of property between spouses in a divorce case. The court divides the marital property in equitable distribution to both spouses and orders the ownership rights to the owner who owned separate property.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, the above information has helped you to understand how property is divided between spouses. Since property settlements are complex, it’s better to consult an experienced and reliable divorce lawyer who can help and guide you in this situation.