When a couple decides to get divorced, one of the first things they have to deal with is the division of assets. This can be a difficult process, as there are many factors to consider. From the value of the assets to the sentimental value, sharing of existing debt, and more, there are a lot of things to think about during this time.
In this blog post, we will discuss five of the most important things that are taken into account during marital asset division.
Table of Contents
The Length of the Marriage
Maryland attorney Avigayil Pearlman notes that courts often consider how long the couple was married. Generally, shorter marriages are subject to different rules than longer ones. This is because the court presumes that couples who were married for a short time did not have enough time to fully and fairly develop their economic life together. In contrast, couples who were married for a long time are presumed to have had a more complete economic life together.
This means the court is more likely to consider all the couple’s joint assets as marital property subject to division. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. For instance, when a spouse was clearly and unfairly disadvantaged during the marriage, the court may still consider that spouse’s separate property. However, what matters most is understanding the divorce laws in your state and how they apply to your particular case.
Each Spouse’s Earning Potential
Another important factor often considered during the asset division process is each spouse’s earning potential. This is because the court will want to ensure that both spouses can support themselves financially after the divorce. If one spouse has a much higher earning potential than the other, the court may award them a greater share of the assets based on their contribution to the marriage.
However, it’s important to remember that each spouse’s earning potential is not the only factor that the court will consider during marital asset division. The court will also look at other factors, such as each party’s education level, job experience, age, and health. Issues like the level of support provided during the marriage and each parent’s role in raising any children from the marriage will also play a role in how assets are divided.
Debts and Liabilities
These are perhaps the most sensitive issues during asset division. Debts and liabilities include mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, and student loans. It’s important to remember that just because something is considered an asset doesn’t mean it’s free from debts or liabilities. This is one area in which many couples fail to agree during marital asset division, and it can cause many financial problems down the road.
During the negotiation process, it’s important to be as transparent as possible about your debts and liabilities. This will help your spouse make informed decisions about which assets they’re willing to take on. It’s also important to remember that some debts may be considered joint debts, even if only one person is responsible for them. This is something to consider during division.
The Value of Any Jointly-owned Property
The value of any jointly-owned property is generally considered to be its fair market value on the date of separation. This is sometimes referred to as the “separation date valuation.” This rule aims to ensure that both spouses are treated fairly, and neither one ends up with a division of assets that is disproportionate in their favor. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. For example, if one spouse owned the property before marriage, that spouse may be entitled to a greater share of the property’s value.
Another exception to the rule is when marital assets have been used for non-marital purposes. For example, if one spouse has used joint assets to pay for an extramarital affair, that spouse may be required to reimburse the other spouse for their share of those assets. In any case, it is important to keep in mind that the value of jointly-owned property is not always cut-and-dry. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine the value of jointly-owned property and how it should be divided in your divorce.
Each Spouse’s Contribution to the Marriage
The court will also look at each spouse’s contribution to the marriage. This includes things like breadwinning, child-rearing, homemaking, caregiving, and how each spouse contributed to the family’s overall well-being. The goal is to ensure that each spouse is taken care of after the divorce. They don’t want one spouse to feel like they did all the work while the other one got all the benefits. This would be unfair and could lead to a lot of resentment.
In conclusion, this is just a brief overview of some of the things that may be considered during marital asset division. Every situation is unique and different, so it’s important to consult with an experienced divorce attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.