The Great Divide – What Happens To Marital Property After A Divorce

Divorce is an incredibly difficult and traumatic event for any couple or family. Even if the split is relatively amicable, severing your connection with someone you vowed to never leave can feel especially heart-rending. Besides the intense feelings of loss that come with the end of any relationship, you will inevitably have tough conversations about property ownership and the divvying up of all your combined assets.

This, as you may well know, is the main reason why things get so ugly during divorce proceedings, and can end up leaving lasting scars on the entire family. That said, there are ways to avoid the drama of handling marital property in the wake of a divorce. If you and your spouse are preparing to part ways, then read on for more information.

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First Point Of Order

When a court decides to grant a divorce, it is expected that the property will be divided equitably between both spouses. During the divorce proceedings, each spouse is expected to tell the court their exact income as individuals. They are also compelled to report the debts they owe, both on their own and as a couple. All financial information is shared openly and transparently so that the court may be able to decide what the next steps are and how to reach an equitable solution for both parties.

What Is Equitable Distribution?

Note that in the paragraph above the word “equitable” is used instead of “equal.” There is a huge difference between both terms. In Southern California, where the divorce rates are higher than most states, a Rock Hill Divorce Lawyer has stated that the point of the divorce proceedings isn’t dividing everything in half. Rather, the court’s job is to divide everything as fairly as possible between both spouses, according to the information on hand.

Each proposed solution will take into account the spouses’ individual struggles, the child support situation, and other relevant factors to ensure that each person gets what the court feels is well-deserved. The goal is usually to divide things equally, but that cannot always be the case, which is why the principle of equitable distribution is more readily used, as it makes the most sense given how divorce proceedings usually develop.

Understand The Concept Of Marital Property

Another vital concept you should familiarize yourself with is that of marital property. The definition is quite simple: marital property is anything you and your spouse purchased while married, regardless of whose name is on the deed or legal paperwork. If, for example, you purchased a car or an apartment while married and only your name is on the lease or contract, it is still something that your partner might be entitled to should you get a divorce. Pensions are also typically considered marital property.

Difference Between Marital And Separate Properties

Separate property, on the other hand, is that which was purchased well before you were married. Or, it could be an inheritance that you or your spouse received, even while you were both married – this would not be considered marital property since you are listed as the sole inheritor.

Any form of separate property cannot be included in the divorce proceedings and equitable distribution. However, there can sometimes be an overlap between marital and separate properties. For example, if you used part of your inheritance to purchase a gift for your spouse, then that gift will be considered marital property.

Determining The Shares

A big reason as to why divorce proceedings can take a very long time is because the court attempts to determine what is equitable and who gets what, which can be a lengthy process. The court comes to this conclusion by evaluating things like the income and property holdings of each spouse when they got married, how long they were married for, whether or not the guardianship of the children will be shared, loss of inheritance and pension benefits, etc. The court won’t leave any stone unturned in order to arrive at the best outcome.

Who Is At Fault?

People tend to get very nervous about the establishment of fault in a divorce since they worry it means that one person will get more out of the settlement. This, however, is not usually the case. The only way for the divvying of property to be affected by who is at fault if there is substantial evidence of violent emotional and physical abuse. Or, if one spouse has neglected to help support the family financially. Otherwise, the principle of equitable distribution would prevail.

If you and your spouse are planning to file for divorce, there’s no need to worry about an insane Wars of the Roses scenario. In all likelihood, the process will not drag out for as long as you think. The important thing is to share all the information with your attorneys and be patient. Divorce can take a while, but you can rest assured that it will be over soon enough, with an outcome that will hopefully feel fair to both you and your ex-partner.

If you are interested in even more lifestyle-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.

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