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Preparing to Divide Marital Property

Posted on April 9th, 2022

Property Settlements Lawyer

It can be difficult to divide marital property during even the most amicable of divorce processes. If any aspect of the divorce process in question becomes contentious, dividing marital property can become even more of a challenge. It is, therefore, often helpful to understand the ins and outs of what it means to divide marital property as early in the process as possible. That way, both parties understand what is expected of them, what is at stake, and which approaches may best suit their unique circumstances.

Who Has the Power to Decide?

As an experienced property settlements lawyer – including those who practice at May Law, LLP – can confirm, it is a divorcing couple that has the primary power to decide how their asset division process will progress and ultimately resolve. If the spouses in question can come to a mutual agreement about their asset division strategy, a judge will not need to intervene in this process. However, if the parties and their lawyers cannot reach an agreement, a judge will need to settle the fundamental differences keeping the parties from reaching a mutual agreement.

Equal vs. Equitable

It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as you can about the approach to property division embraced by your state’s lawmakers. Each state sets its own guidelines for the division of marital property. Generally speaking, state law falls under one of two umbrella approaches: equal division and equitable division.

In an equal division state, the value of the marital property in question must be split evenly. Say that the sum total of a couple’s martial property (property, assets, and investments acquired during the life of the marriage) is $500,000. The value of that property must be split so that each spouse walks away with $250,000 worth of assets. By contrast, this division is not so set in stone in equitable distribution states. In these states, the “split” of the marital property value does not need to be strictly even, provided that the ultimate division is fair.

What Are You Willing to Fight for?

It is important to think about what property, if any, you’re willing to go to court over. If there is nothing that you “must” have, you’ll be able to remain flexible during negotiations. However, if there is any asset that you’re willing to go to court to retain, it is important to let your attorney know that so that they understand where your boundaries are and how to focus your negotiation strategy.


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