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Here’s How Assets Are Divided In a Divorce

Divorce is among the last things anyone wants to think about when getting into a marital relationship. However, it does happen when one or both partners decide that they’re not getting as much as they would want from the relationship. In some cases, divorce happens due to things such as infidelity, domestic violence, emotional abuse, and a long list of other reasons.

When one or both partners in the relationship decide to call it quits, a few things need to be legally addressed to protect each party in the relationship as well as their kids or dependents if any. The division of assets is among the most common aspects of interest in divorce. In some cases, disputes and conflicts are not uncommon, which is where the law comes in. In this piece, we shall look at a brief overview of how assets are divided in a divorce.

1. Get an Experienced Attorney’s Advice 

As you may already know, splitting property in a divorce can have a lot of confusion and complexities. In many cases, even couples who have decided to amicably end the marriage do not know where to start when it comes to property division. This is why it pays to work with a reputed attorney in your area from the word go. If you hail from North Carolina’s capital, a Raleigh division of property lawyer should be among the first people you approach for legal guidance. A good divorce lawyer can help you develop a plan on distributing assets that you acquire while together in marriage, including real property, stock investments, businesses, and even household stuff like furniture. They will take you through every bit of the process, which may entail the following:

  • Identifying and classifying
  • Valuation
  • Distribution

2. Keep It Civilized 

Divorces can at times be messy and overly tormenting to one or both parties. Emotions can soar high up through the roof, leading to embarrassing actions from one or both parties before or during the divorce process. If, however, you and your spouse arrived at the splitting decision amicably, it could be easier to formulate a settlement approach outside the courts. It is cheaper and less time-consuming, plus you get to keep your marital issues confidential.

Just in case one or both spouses don’t feel secure trusting the other person’s word of mouth, it is best to have a professional mediator, preferably a family law attorney representing each spouse. They help ensure that a just agreement is reached, which is fair to both parties.

3. Understand the Different Kinds of Property 

As we mentioned earlier, an expert family law attorney helps the couple identify assets and classify them into different categories. Whether you are going to a family law court or settling it out of the judicial halls, understanding how assets are categorized by the legal system is crucial during a divorce.  

Obviously, you’ll be seeking to divide the property acquired during your marriage by both or either party. In many cases, the assets or property acquired by one or each of the spouses before the marriage is also considered. Respectively, these are known as marital/community property and separate property. Let’s learn the difference below.

Community Property: This is property acquired during the marriage by either party in the couple. It often includes assets like cars, physical property, earnings, joint account savings, and so forth. 

Separate Property: As the name suggests, this includes assets owned or earned by either partner in the couple before marriage. It may include assets inherited or earnings acquired by their separate funds, personal gifts, and so forth.  

There is also a third category known as mixed property. These are assets that can be viewed partly as separate property and partly as community property. 

4. The Distribution Process 

Once your assets as a couple are identified and categorized, what remains is to determine the applicable laws in your state or country. The property ownership laws will have a huge impact on who gets what and how much of it they get. 

In some states, the common law system is used, where registrations and deeds determine the absolute owner of any asset. While distribution is often fair, it is never necessarily equal. The community property system may also be applicable, where marital property is always divided equally regardless of the name on the paperwork. 

Divorces can seem cruel and unforgiving to one or both partners. It gets even bitterer when it comes to asset division. Thankfully, you now have a brief overview of how property is divided in a divorce, and the steps to take to minimize frustration.

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