A couple who chooses to divorce must face quite a few life-altering decisions. One of the most decisive issues during a divorce is the division of money, assets, debts and other property. Couples do not always agree on who should get what, and as such, the court may ultimately have to decide. While negotiating through your divorce, you may find it beneficial to understand how states handle this task. Discover the two ways in which a court may delineate who gets what during a divorce absent an agreement between the spouses.
Community Property States
A community property state handles the division of financial matters in a black and white manner. In this way, the judge will look at all the money acquired while the couple is married as part of the marital bank or pot. Likewise, the judge will also consider debts incurred while the couple is married in the same way. Once these numbers are calculated, usually with the help of each spouse’s financial disclosure, the court will split them evenly. One spouse may request that the judge award more, but absent a compromise between the couple, the court will probably deny the request. If one spouse is unemployed or underemployed, the judge may award a narrow window to find gainful employment.
Equitable Division State
Most states subscribe to an equitable principle when dividing money-related property during divorce. If the couple doesn’t compromise, a judge will look at the financial picture, as in community property states. However, the court also may consider other factors such as:
- Each person’s emotional contribution to the marriage
- Whether one spouse stayed home to raise children
- How much premarital property each spouse will retain
- Earnings of one spouse over the other
- Evidence of a spouse’s detrimental behavior
Once the court examines this information, a decision is made on the fairest way to divvy up the money and debt. Thus, one spouse may get a more significant percentage of the assets, while the other gets more debt.
Keep in mind, if you have a valid prenuptial agreement, marital finances will be divided as set out in that document. Each state has different laws, and so consulting with a divorce attorney, such as from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, can help you know how a judge will rule where you live. The best way to get through this aspect of divorce may be working with your spouse to enter into an agreement on which you both agree instead of having the decision taken away completely.