LEGAL
Matrimonial

Facts Divorce Courts Consider When Dividing Assets

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Divorce Courts generally will not care or consider the facts of who is to blame for the breakup of the marriage in determining what is fair and equitable when dividing assets.  

Equitable principals divorce courts consider when dividing assets

Considerations when dividing marital property (assets) include: the contribution each spouse has made during the marriage (contributions as a homemaker are often considered equally as important as earning wages if the couple has children), the value of the spouses separate property, if any, how long the marriage lasted and other economic circumstances. 

The court will seek to determine the value of marital property to be divided.  How the value is determined will depend on the type of property involved.  For example, it may not be practical to use retail value for jewelry, as neither spouse would be able to sell their jewelry for the price paid for it new in stores. 

If one spouse to divorce is considering a buyout of the other’s share of marital assets, such as a house, the value can be hotly contested.

In all states the judge has the power to fix a value for any marital asset if the parties cannot agree. Many decisions of a judge in a divorce are very unlikely to be overturned by an appeals court.  This is because most of the decisions related to what a property is worth and what is fair regarding its division are questions of fact that are not subject to appeal.

Often times for large assets, like a house, one spouse may need to refinance the mortgage to buy out the other. Depending on that spouses income and credit, obtaining the loan could be an issue. In some cases, when reaching a divorce settlement, one spouse may agree to give up their share of certain marital property in exchange for getting more (or paying less) alimony.

By Christopher Yannon

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