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Property Division: Who Gets What?

Dividing up the property that you have acquired before and during the marriage is one of the most complicated aspects of divorce. This is because there are so many different factors that determine who gets what and why. While you and your spouse may have bought a house together, does this mean you need to split it half way? What happens if one person wants to remain living there? What about property acquired before the marriage or property that was bought before the marriage, but paid for during the marriage?

Every single case is looked at on an individual level. US property division lawyers can help you better understand the process of property division and how this will impact your life. Whether you and your spouse can come to an agreement or whether you will need the court to decide, lawyers can help simplify the process and ensure the best outcome for you.

Marital Property Division

One of the first things that attorneys will help you with is determining what is marital and what is non-marital property.

Marital property is: property acquired by the parties during the existence of the marriage. Things like homes, cars, boats, etc. Even if the ownership is only in one of the names, if it was acquired during the marriage, then it’s marital property.

Marital property is divided equally. Of course, it can be hard to split a car down the side or let one partner have half of the house. This is why often divorce requires you to sell these items or to buy one another out. Property is usually given a value and thus this will help determine who gets what when dividing property.

Non Marital Property Division

Non marital property is: property that was acquired before the marriage, property that was given as a gift or inheritance to only one of the spouses, property that is excluded by a prenuptial agreement and property that is acquired by a spouse after the valuation date.

Division of non marital property will depend on a number of factors including:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The contribution of each party
  • The appreciation or depreciation of the property
  • The age, health, occupation and sources of income of each party

Of course, some things are not that easy to divide. For example, you may have bought a house on your own but then got married and your spouse has helped contribute to the mortgage payments since. Or, you may have acquired a student debt before you got married that you still have now.

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