Divorce and Asset Division

Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage.
Divorce is different from the separation in that, by law, the marriage is considered legally terminated. A separation may occur when the couple is living separately, but they have not filed a request for the court to declare a divorce.

Property acquired during the marriage:
Property acquired during the marriage is called marital property. Depending on the state of the residence, the property is treated differently in case of divorce. There are two categories that states assume regarding the treatment of marital property; Common Property and Equitable Distribution. Laws on equitable distribution are followed in most states. The following states are exceptions and in which common ownership is established: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

What happens in a State with Common Property?

In the states in which common property is followed, all property acquired by individuals before marriage is considered separate property of each spouse. Any property received by a spouse as a gift or inheritance, even when it was received during the marriage, and any property that can be identified as the property of a separate asset is also considered as separate property. This means, for example, that an asset purchased entirely with money that was given to the spouse is considered as separate property. Finally, based on the separation, all earnings are considered separate property of the spouse who obtained them. This separation does not need to be legally or formally recognized by a court.

What is common property ?
Common property is something that the two spouses own together. Any gains acquired during the marriage until the date of separation are considered common property. Furthermore, any assets purchased with the money that is part of the common property are considered common property and are equally owned by the spouses. Like earnings, all debts incurred during the marriage until the date of separation are considered common debts. Debts include anything from a credit card balance to loans for the purchase of a car and home mortgages. This means that both spouses, regardless of who earned the money or who accumulated the debt, are considered owners of the assets and debts in equal shares. Generally, upon divorce,

What happens if I live in a state with equitable distribution?
The states with equitable distribution treat the divorce differently from the property. Generally, equitable distribution refers to an equal division between the spouses. However, these states allow that on the occasion of some circumstances occurred during the marriage and after the divorce, indicate which spouse will be granted certain assets as well as which debts. The goal in a state with equitable distribution is to give each spouse what is “fair” according to the circumstances. This means that the courts will consider, among other things, how much each spouse contributed to the marriage in terms of earnings, as well as who took care of the children of the marriage and even the potential earning capacity of each spouse.

For more information about divorce and separation, please contact a family law attorney.

Talk to a lawyer qualified in Family Law today

This article is intended to be useful and informative, but legal issues can become complicated and stressful. A lawyer qualified in family law can attend to your particular legal needs, explain the law and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a qualified family law attorney near you to discuss your particular legal situation.

by Abdullah Sam
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