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Rights of My Property During a Divorce!

Division of property is usually part of the divorce process.

Here are some legal terms and concepts that are good to know when speaking to an attorney.

Before speaking to an attorney, it is helpful to become familiar with a few legal concepts and legal terms such as:

  • Division of Property
  • Community Property
  • Separate Property
  • Equitable Distribution.

People should consult a family law attorney early in the divorce process as this may preserve an individual’s financial well being. Keep note that this article does not constitute legal advice.

While internet research is helpful, everyone should understand that each state has different divorce laws and legal terms.. There are, however, basic similarities in divorces, and though the terminology may be different, the basic principles in the divorce process are relatively uniform.

Division of Property

In simple terms, community property can be thought of as “all property and profits acquired during marriage.  Yet, there are other factors which can affect whether or not something really is community property.

In a short-term marriage, with no children and little community property, it can often be easy to obtain a quick divorce.

However, long-term marriages can often bring more complex issues into the divorce, such as:

  • Personal Property (jewelry, clothing, cars, and other things)
  • Real estate
  • Children
  • Businesses
  • Large or concealed debts
  • Trust funds
  • Investments
  • Pensions
  • Joint and separate accounts

In complex situations, a husband and wife may be unable to agree upon a division of assets without the help of a divorce specialist who deals with these issues on a daily basis.

Equitable Distribution of Community Property

Equitable distribution means a “fair” distribution.  Many states start with the presumption that “equitable means equal” but “other factors may contribute to an unequal distribution that is still considered equitable.

Though every state has their own divorce laws, many states consider factors like the following when making a fair division of community property assets:

  • How many years the couple has been married
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Ability of each person (usually the wife) to earn their own living after the divorce
  • Age and health
  • What each person has contributed to the marriage
  • Tax consequences of the division
  • Debts and liabilities

There are many other considerations that may affect distribution.

Separate Property

What is separate property? Separate property is any asset that is owned by just one spouse and is usually not divided between the spouses during the divorce process.

Sometimes, separate property becomes co-owned and might be considered community property.  Divorce lawyers will be able to explain these special circumstances.

Few Examples of Separate Property:

  • Gift or Inheritance given to one spouse
  • Personal injury settlements given to one spouse
  • Things that were owned by one spouse before the marriage, such as a business, a home, or a pension
  • Property purchased during the marriage by one spouse with their own (separate) money

When large assets, debts, or children are involved, it is important that each spouse has their own attorney to represent their interests.

Other Division of Property Issues

Division of property involves the distribution of money and other assets associated with the time span of the marriage.

Here are some of the other issues that must be settled during the divorce process, but are related to life after divorce:

  • Alimony or spousal support
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support payments

It is important for each spouse to retain a rational and businesslike temperament throughout the divorce process. There are always many compromises which must be made on the part of both the husband and the wife.

Understanding some of the terms and concepts associated with division of assets may make the divorce process easier for everyone.

Keep in mind if you and your spouse are able to have an amicable divorce and can come to an agreement on your own.  I highly recommend you visit www.mydivorcedocuments.com and download a low-cost specific state do it yourself kit and forms.

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