Dividing Assets During A Divorce
Making the decision to separate or even divorce is a tough pill to swallow. Couple in the decision to equally divide up assets and it can be quite a challenge. State laws differ so you need to understand that you are not guaranteed to get half of the marital assets in a divorce. Assets acquired by you and your spouse during marriage are considered marital property (i.e. property, retirement benefits). However, in the United States, there are two very different divorce standards, equitable distribution, and community property. Currently, there are 10 “community property” states and 41 “equitable distribution” states.
If you live in one of the 41 equitable distribution states, the court will make the decision of what is a fair and equitable division of assets. This means the court can decide to award one or either spouse 0-100%. This decision is made by the court factoring in the length of the marriage, what each person brought into the marriage, earnings both future and current, responsibilities of children, tax responsibilities and debt if any. A marital agreement, signed before or during marriage, will have controlling weight in the division of assets.
On the other hand, if you live in a community property state asset division starts at 50-50, including debt if the marriage is dissolved. Another important factor to consider is if you have residency in two states (a community property and one that is equitable distribution). If you do, speak with your attorney to determine which will benefit you more before filing. The higher wage earner usually does better in an equitable distribution state while a stay-at-home spouse would benefit from the community property state.
Overall, it’s important if you’re going through a divorce to research, learn your state’s divorce laws and get involved in managing your divorce.
Written by: Jamacia Magee, Rust Built, Marketing Services