During a divorce, property division is one of the biggest points of contention. Couples can either work it out amicably, or take it before a judge. Property accrued during the marriage (such as earned wages, real estate, personal items and pensions) is subject to fair division between the divorcing spouses. Community property laws vary from state to state, and it is best to consult with a Divorce Attorney West Milford NJ on equitable property division.
Community Property States
Nine US states (Wisconsin, Washington, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana, Idaho, California and Arizona) have community property laws. Any property gained during the course of a marriage is split evenly between the spouses. In these states, legislators believe that property should be evenly divided because they assume that both spouses contribute equally to its preservation and acquisition. In all states, property owned by a spouse before the marriage (and kept separate) is not subject to division.
Equitable Distribution States
All other states in the US (with the exception of Alaska) have laws using equitable distribution rules. Here, the split is not always 50/50. To come up with the fairest solution, a judge considers factors such as:
The marriage’s length
Work histories and employment potential of the spouses
Both spouses’ physical and emotional health
Child care expenses
Who acquired the property in question
There are some states where a spouse’s misbehavior during the marriage can result in their getting less of the marital assets. Economic fault includes situations such as infidelity resulting in financial loss, gambling, or misappropriation of funds. In some cases fault assessment is under a time limit, but in other states fault can be assessed at any time.
Most judges will approve a division agreement if the couple arrives at an amicable decision without help. If the couple cannot agree, they should ask a Best Divorce Attorney West Milford NJ whether their assets’ value justifies a lengthy and expensive trial. The spouses should inventory their property, being careful not to hide anything. If a spouse fails to abide by the terms of an agreement, a legal injunction can force the issue.
Division of Debts
Debt accrued during a marriage is also subject to division. State law determines how it is done, but in most cases, the person retaining the property is liable for debts associated with it. If one spouse makes substantially more than the other, they will likely be liable for more of the marital debt.
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