What To Know About Dividing Property During A Divorce

Posted on: 7 December 2021

One matter that is very important to settle during a divorce is property division. Chances are that there is a lot of it, and anyone going through a divorce will need to come to an agreement on how it will be fairly divided. 

Know That A Written Agreement Is Necessary To Avoid Litigation

You are going to need a written agreement as to how property will be divided in a divorce to avoid going to trial. If you want full control over the property division, then it needs to be done in one of two ways. You can have a prenuptial agreement that is signed before the marriage happens, and it will spell out how many of your shared assets will be divided. While it can't possibly cover those smaller unforeseen items that you get during a marriage, it can help cover major items such as property, vehicles, pets, and things of that nature. 

Without a prenuptial agreement, you'll need to create a written agreement during mediation. This takes place during the divorce process where things may be more contested between two spouses. A good reason to settle things in mediation is that you have full control over the outcome. If you cannot make a joint decision on certain items, then a judge will make the decision for you during litigation. 

Know The Difference Between Community And Equitable Property Division

Each state has its own laws regarding property division during a divorce if it goes through litigation, with these laws commonly being referred to as community and equitable property division laws.

Any state that uses community property laws will assume that all marital property equally belongs to both spouses and must be divided equally as well. This includes earned wages and investment income, pensions, home furnishings, and things of that nature. However, some items are classified as separate property and cannot be divided. This includes property owned prior to the marriage, gifts, and inheritance.

Equitable property laws will have the divorce court divide all marital property in a way that is considered just and reasonable. This is not necessarily equal division, but it takes things into consideration to make property division fair. The length of the marriage, who is at fault for ending the marriage, income levels, earning power, child custody arrangements, and even a person's education can all play a role in how property is divided. 

Reach out to a divorce lawyer for more information about property division.