When you’re married, you accumulate things. That could mean anything: cars, a house, furniture, even pets. If a divorce becomes part of the equation, those assets will need to be distributed accordingly, or even sold. When this happens, it’s important to understand the process of dividing marital assets between spouses.
Firstly, both parties are required to disclose his or her property. Once disclosure of property is given, each item of property will be listed in one of these three categories:
- Matrimonial Property consists of all assets and debts accumulated by either or both spouses during the marriage. This includes anything acquired after the date of separation such as credit cards, household supplies, vehicles, and real estate. The value of the matrimonial property is evenly split between the two parties accordingly. This takes into account any special circumstances that would make an equal division unfair.
- Exempt Property includes any assets and/or debits that were brought into the union by one spouse. This could include any assets owned before the marriage, inherited assets, proceeds from insurance, or any property received as a gift from a third party. If these items are clearly deemed the property of only one of the parties, they should be exempt from division.
- Increased Value of Exempt property is exactly as the name implies. If the value of the exempt property has increased during the marriage, then the increase in value may be divided equitably between parties. A judge will determine the actual amount based on specific standards and conditions.
Division of martial property is just one segment of divorce. It’s important to understand the circumstances before heading to court. Contact a dependable lawyer to help you understand your rights and responsibilities. Divorce is hard enough; finding a lawyer you can communicate with could be the determining factor in walking away with the best settlement possible.