If you just filed for divorce, you likely have a lot of unanswered questions about what lies ahead. One of your most pressing concerns will be the financial impact of your divorce and how much of your marital assets you’ll keep. Will you be able to keep the family home? How much will your spouse get of your retirement fund?
While the law presumes an equal division of marital assets, the court recognizes that there are some situations in which dividing assets 50-50 would not be ‘equitable.’ Therefore, the court gives consideration to certain factors, such as the ones listed below.
Equitable division factors
The factors a judge may consider for when determining equitable property distribution include the following:
- A spouse’s previous financial obligations arising from another marriage
- The length of the marriage
- The health of both spouses, including physical and mental factors
- A parent with primary custody needing to retain the home for the children
- One spouse having worked to put the other through school
- One spouse having been a homemaker or a stay-at-home parent while the other worked outside the home
What property will be divided
Any assets or income acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable property division. This includes retirement funds, stock options, commissions, employee bonuses, life insurance and even country club memberships.
Items that may not be subject to property division include the following:
- Property owned before your marriage
- An inheritance you or your spouse received before or during the marriage
- Property that was a gift from someone else
- Funds from a personal injury settlement
Some property that was initially acquired before the marriage, but towards which income or funds from the marriage paid, may also be subject to division under certain circumstances.
You should consult an experienced attorney about your divorce asset division. It often is complicated, and you may not realize how easily property you owned before the marriage can become marital property. An attorney can help you determine that and give you a better idea of what assets you will keep after the divorce.