How does the court decide how marital property is divided? 29 Answers as of July 11, 2013

My soon to be husband and I have both been working and have paid for the jointly-titled property. How will the court decide how to divide it?

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Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
If the dissolving couple makes a determination on how they want to divide their property, for the most part the court will look to whether that division is fair and just and reflects the desires of both parties. If the spouses have not come to any type of agreement regarding the property, then the court look to make sure that.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/31/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Net community property (i.e., the fair market value of community property less the amount of community debts) is divided 50/50 on divorce. Unless you and your husband can agree on dividing net community property, you will need to schedule a trial to have the net community property divided, and the Court will divide it as it deems fit. You would best retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you if there is significant value in the net community property, because self-represented parties generally are not sufficiently versed regarding the rules of evidence that apply in trials.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2011
Meriwether & Tharp LLC
Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
In Georgia, there is no universal formula for dividing property in a divorce. Property is "equitably" divided based upon a host of issues. Additionally, it depends on what kind of property we are talking about. For instance, a 401k is typically divided by a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to avoid tax consequences. But many state sponsored pension plans are not capable of division, so the parties (or the Court) may have to offset the value of that pension with some other asset. Your best course of action would be to meet with a divorce attorney, at least for a consultation, to discuss how the particular assets in your situation might be equitably divided
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/21/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
You answered your own question. You both worked for it and you both put money equally into it. In such a situation, it would be an equal split. If there is a difference in how much each of you invested or earned, then it might be a different split. Speak to a local lawyer for details. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/20/2011
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
The court will attempt to equitably distribute the assets and liabilities of the marriage so that neither party is overly burdened.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/20/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law, all property is before the court for division. As a general rule separate property will be awarded to the party owning the separate property, while community property (property acquired during the marriage, not by gift or inheritance) will be divided between the parties. When appropriate (such as to help a disadvantaged spouse), the percentage of division may be other than 50/50.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Fredric H. Aaron, Attorney at Law, P.C.
    Fredric H. Aaron, Attorney at Law, P.C. | Fredric Harlan Aaron
    All property acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution. In the absence of certain factors (such as drug or alcohol addiction, spousal abuse or wasteful dissipation of assets), the courts will usually split the property 50/50. You should consult with an attorney to assist you in determining the property division for your divorce.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You may find the attached of some use.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    The Court divides the property in a divorce fairly and equitably.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Deal & Hooks, LLC
    Deal & Hooks, LLC | Shawn P. Hooks
    In Ohio a Court will resolve issues of allocating marital property in an equitable way. This is usually an even split, but in some circumstances a court may find that it would be more fair to allocate more property to one party over another for various reasons. These reasons may be based on financial misconduct, one party assuming more debt, one party paying more or less spousal support than what they normally may be obligated to, and other reasons.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    The courts like it best if the parties can decide through their attorneys how to divide the property. The attorneys will then draft and agree upon and produce an agreement to the judge to accept. If you do not have an attorney, I highly recommend that you retain one to protect your interests and your rights, as well as to make sure you have the proper agreements and paperwork ready and presented for the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    The Sampaio Law Firm, PA
    The Sampaio Law Firm, PA | Sasha M. Sampaio
    The court will apportion the debts and assets of the husband and wife based primarily on the financial affidavits submitted by each party. The financial affidavits contain a schedule of assets and debts. Each item must be classified as joint or separate property. The parties can come to an agreement on how to divide the property, but if they do not, the judge will decide.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    If the two of you can't agree, the court will decide based on what it believes is fair after listening to both arguments. There are no simple "rules" and 50/50 may be the starting point, but there are many reasons why it might not be exactly equal.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    The Coyle Law Office
    The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
    Generally, any property that was acquired during the marriage is split 50-50 unless the court finds good reason to split it another way (like if one party has more earning power than the other).
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    In Florida equitable distribution, sounds like split in your case, or you can decide amongst yourselves.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    I assume that you are asking about how the court divides the property in a divorce. The answer is that there is no fixed formula. The court is only required to divide the debts and property in a way that the court thinks is "fair and equitable." In deciding what is "fair and equitable," the court is supposed to consider a number of factors. Some of the factors that the court is supposed to consider are: the duration of the marriage, the ages of each of the parties, the health of each of the parties, the work history of the parties, the educational background of each of the parties, and the nature and extent of the property. Since these factors vary from case to case, most every case is somewhat different. It is just what seems fair based on the criteria.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    The final standard that all property is divided in a just and proper manner. That usually means equally. For example, if there are two cars of equal value, you each will get one.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    In WI, the law is that property division is 50/50. Generally, the parties reach an agreement on how to divide the property. The court only decides if you have to go to trial, and only 5% of cases go to trial, as everyone knows what the law/guidelines for 50/50 means, so no need to fight it unless some special circumstances. It can be offset though - like one party keeps the home, one the 401k, if they are relatively equal in value, for example, so negotiations still need to take place. Generally it is a good idea to have a lawyer, or at least have a review before signing anything.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    Pursuant to statute, there are a number of different criteria that a court is supposed to review and apply. If the two of you can come up with an agreement, though, then the decision is in your hands and not a court's hands.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Simply put, each divorcing partner in Georgia would seek an equitable division or share of the property. Of course, equitable does not always mean fifty-fifty, and could be subject to other factors, such as whether or not there are any fault grounds, e.g. adultery, in a divorce case. You should carefully discuss these matters with your own divorce lawyer. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    This will depend upon whether the property was purchased before or during the marriage. If purchased during the marriage then the equity in the property is owned 50-50 at time of divorce.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Property that is determined by court order or agreement to be community property is typically divided equally. You should call a local family law lawyer to discuss the particular facts of your case. He/she can help you understand all your rights relative to the particular facts of your case. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    If you are about to get married, why are you worried about about how a divorce court would possibly deal with property issues? Ask this question should you ever need a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    The court divides it fairly and equitably. It considers your ages, financial futures, health, the characteristic of the property (separate or community), other financial issues like child support and maintenance, length of marriage and any other relevant factor.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Van Der Jagt Law Firm
    Van Der Jagt Law Firm | Grant Van Der Jagt
    It is divided "equitably". You need to argue why it is fair one way versus the other.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Georgia is an equitable division state. This means that if you and your husband cannot decide how to divide your property, the judge will divide it according to what he or she thinks is "fair and equitable" under the circumstances of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If you are in a state with equitable division, the judge will do what he subjectively decides is fair. If it's a community property state it's 50-50. As a general rule, a good lawyer will help, and no lawyer will hurt as to the outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Property is divided equitably. that does not mean mathematically equally,but in a way deemed fair. As a general rule, the division of assets awards each party property of substantially equal value. Where there is a disparity, a cash award to equalize the division may be made.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/17/2011
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