If you're in the process of going through a divorce, it's important to understand just how the division of property will take place. Virtually everything that you as a couple acquired while you were married is considered marital property. This includes things like any homes you bought, cars and even retirement benefits. When a couple is married, they have the right to share in each other's assets. Of course, they will often also have the obligation to share in each other's losses. Exactly how this be done will depend on where you live.
Community Property Versus Equal Distribution
In the United States, each state sets their own policy regarding divorce standards. There are two main categories of standards: community property and equal distribution. 10 states use the community property standard, while 40 states (and the District of Columbia) use the equal distribution standard. Your lawyer will be able to tell you which standard is used in your state and how it will affect your particular case.
Features of Community Property
The community property states, the division of property is usually 50-50 with the marriage it's in a divorce. There are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to community property states:
Just as both spouses are entitled to an equal division of the marital assets, they also have to divide the debts as well. Both will be split down the middle.
Keep in mind that a spouse who is aware that they live in a community property state may choose to either hide assets or increase their debts. This is a good reason to ensure that your lawyer has all the assets frozen for the duration of the divorce.
Features of Equal Distribution
Despite what the name implies, equal distribution does not necessarily mean you will get 50% of everything. In the states using the equal distribution approach, the courts will decide what they consider to be a fair distribution of the couple's assets. Despite the term "equal distribution," it's perfectly possible for one of the spouses to end up with absolutely nothing.
When deciding what it considers to be fair and reasonable, the court will consider things like the length of the marriage, what assets each person had before the marriage, how much they earn who has the responsibility for the children debts and taxes. If you happen to have a prenuptial agreement, you will have greater control over the division of marital property. Talk to people like Backus Law Group for more information.