Dividing Assets, Properties and Debts in the Event of Divorce

Posted by on Jan 11, 2014 in Family Issues | 0 comments

One of the toughest issues to settle during the process of divorce is division of properties, assets and debts – everything that the divorcing couple has worked for or has had before deciding to part ways. The frustration becomes greater when both parties cannot come to an agreement; a situation still made worse with the absence of a prenuptial agreement, which automatically protects the assets and properties of an individual earned prior to marriage.

Division of wealth and debts is one issue that will straightforwardly affect each of the spouse’s financial future. Thus, if no terms become agreeable to both parties, it will be up to the judge to decide, under certain conditions, which property goes to whom and how much of the acquired debt is paid by each.

Since only marital assets, properties and debts (those acquired within the bond of marriage or during the union) are subject for division, the court will need to determine first which of these are marital and which are non-marital. And, when referring to assets and properties, these include vehicles, valuables (like arts and antiques), saving accounts, bonds, stocks, commissions, bonuses, mutual funds, life insurance, pension plan, retirement plan, deferred compensation and retirement savings plan (also known as employer-sponsored 401K). If a house was purchased during the union, this marital home is usually awarded to the parent who will have child custody, but only until the child reaches the age of 18 or finishes high school.

Knowing the laws (regarding divorce and property division) of the state where you reside is important since states differ in how their courts divide assets, properties and debts. Despite the differences there are factors commonly considered by courts when making decisions, such as the spouse’s income and earning capability, age, health, length of marriage, the specific property and income contributed by each into the marriage and the standard of living during the union. Consideration of these factors are true in 41 states, which make sure that division is fair and reasonable; in the other nine (Texas, Nevada, Louisiana, Wisconsin, New Mexico, California, Arizona, Texas and Washington), however, if the laws have not been changed, then the 50-50 rule division is still in effect.

On its website, the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., speaks of how divorce can be both an overwhelming and demoralizing experience to go through. And while there is the need to ensure the best future for the children (if there are any), one cannot sacrifice his/her own interests. Thus, every decision, even the refusal to accept terms, is critical.

The need to arrive at a settlement fast, without having the need to bring the issues to court, is equally important. Oftentimes, issues become easier to settle with the help of lawyers who will help you and your spouse draw the conditions and terms of the agreement. Hiring a family lawyer would really be a big help in making divorce a less devastating procedure to go through.

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