Property division is a necessary part of any divorce, but this process isn’t always simple or straightforward. In some cases, the couple will find that there are highly disputed items among their assets. Other areas require an in-depth inquiry with careful consideration of several factors to reach a fair and equitable understanding. If you’re facing challenges with complex property division in your divorce, it’s important to understand what you’re up against.
Understanding Marital Property
Marital property is defined as any property acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage. In common law property states, property is typically assigned to the spouse who purchased it. If both spouses purchased the item together, such as a car or home with both names on it, each party has a one-half interest in it. Anything purchased before the marriage is non-marital property. In some states, a gift or inheritance given to one party is also considered non-marital.
Complex property division typically comes into play with complicated assets that one cannot divide in a straightforward manner. This includes the following:
- Business ownership interests
- Stock options
- Rental and vacation properties
- Retirement accounts such as IRAs, 401(k) accounts, and pensions
- Stock grants, deferred compensation, and other sophisticated executive compensation
Factors in Property Division
If the court is left to divide disputed marital property between two parties, it will take several factors into consideration. Beyond the monetary value of the asset, the court will examine issues such as the following:
- Relative health of each spouse
- Income of both spouses
- Length of the marriage
- Custodial arrangements for children
It’s best for couples to settle complex property division out of court, where both parties will have more room to negotiate. However, you should never attempt to settle complex property division on your own. If you’re dealing with a difficult contested divorce, contact Figueroa Law Group, P.A. to find out how our attorneys can help.