How Courts Deal With Finances In Divorce

Two factors in a divorce that bring out the worst in couples are money and children. Since both carry an element of emotional context, they can also create the biggest rifts and arguments. Getting a handle on how the court handles each during divorce can help keep tension at a minimum. Find out how courts deal with finances in divorce.

What Is Considered Property?

Property is a term that comes up often in divorce. It describes the physical property, such as real estate and cars and intangibles, such as investments and bank accounts. One of the most heated factors in a divorce is dividing property to make both spouses happy. This cannot always be accomplished for a number of reasons. A spouse who does not accept the divorce may fight to keep property that is clearly not theirs. On the other hand, a spouse who feels like they earn a bulk of the income may not find the other worthy of getting any money from them. Marital property is anything the couple got while together. Even if it is held in a single name, it is subject to being divided.

How Will a Judge Divide Things?

State laws vary, so it is important to understand the local stance on property division. Some states divide everything evenly between the couple. All marital property is sliced down the middle, with assets being sold or retirement accounts being opened early. Other states go by an equitable or fair distribution of marital property. This means that the judge can look at other things to decide who should get how much of the marital pot. For example, a judge can decide that a stay-at-home parent should get more than half of the property if the other has hidden money or benefited greatly from the one staying at home.

What Happens to Individual Assets?

Before marriage, an individual may open accounts or invest in property owned only in their name. These assets are known as premarital and therefore are not in the hands of the court to divide. Some spouses may attempt to parse out marital property to protect a greater share of the financial assets. Even accounts opened in a single name during the time of the marriage are subject to division. One way to protect separate assets or even income levels is by getting a pre or postnuptial agreement. This document can help divide money if a divorce occurs.

A divorce lawyer is a wealth of knowledge regarding how to handle assets before and during a split. Get in touch with someone nearby to find assistance early in a divorce.