Property Division

Marriage is considered a partnership, and if the marriage partnership dissolves, each partner should receive a portion of the property acquired during the marriage.  It is presumed that all property owned by either party, or by the parties jointly, on the date they separate, is marital property. It if further presumed that the marital property should be split between the spouses 50/50 with “like-kind” allocations of property.  There are more than a dozen factors that may lead a judge to deviate from the 50/50 presumption.  Title does not necessarily control who gets the marital property when a marriage ends, so there is no need to worry if all the property is titled in one spouse’s name.  Some property belongs only to one spouse, as that spouse’s “separate property.” Separate property includes items they had prior to marriage, property inherited at any time, and any property received as a gift from anyone other than the spouse.  The burden is on the party claiming property as his/her separate property to prove that it is his/her separate property.  If you cannot prove the property is separate property, then it may be treated as marital property, subject to 50/50 division.  The property owned on the date of separation must be classified, valued and divided between the spouses in a way that is “equitable.”

Property passively accruing after the date of separation and before the date of distribution (like interest, dividends, market appreciation) or received after date of separation for work done during the marriage (like bonus, commission and contractual rights), and passive changes in the amount of marital debt may be allocated between the spouses as “divisible property.”

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