Equitable Distribution Of Property After A Divorce

Going through a divorce is painful, but what about the hard work or money you've put into buying and keeping your property? Depending on the circumstances, a judge may order each party to separate their property in a fair manner through a process called equitable distribution. This term means that assets and property must be distributed to each person in a fair and just manner. Read on to find out more about this process. 

Process Steps

There are three main steps taken when the process of equitable distribution begins. The first step involves the determination of which properties, such as a home or vehicle, are included as part of the distribution. The second step will be to perform a financial valuation of said property, and the third step involves the actual distribution of the property itself. Each state has its own specific divorce distribution laws, so it's a good idea to hire a divorce attorney who can help you navigate the process. 

Types Of Property

There are two basic types of property involved in a divorce proceeding: marital and nonmarital. Martial property usually includes property purchased during the marriage. For example, if a couple gets married and then purchases a home together with both spouses on the mortgage title, this would be considered martial property. Nonmarital or separate property can be excluded from equitable distribution. This type of property consists of things purchased or acquired by one party before the marriage occurred, or something that was considered a gift from one spouse to another, such as fine jewelry. Anything already listed in a prenuptial agreement is also excluded from equitable distribution.

The Distribution Process

Once the correct marital property is assessed and identified, the court will then divide it between both parties. There are several things that can have an impact on the court's final decision in terms of fair distribution. Some examples of the factors taken into consideration include each spouse's current financial situation. For example, if the wife stays home and the husband works full time, the wife may receive more property due to a harder financial situation. The judge may also consider the length of time the marriage was intact, and if either spouse wishes to live in the home with their custodial children. There are many other factors that come into play such as who is at fault for causing the divorce or if either party has a criminal record. Each state has different guidelines when it comes to distributing martial property, so it is best to consult a family attorney (such as one from Blumenauer Hackworth) for assistance.