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What’s Yours Is Not Mine: A Simple Guide to Divorce and Splitting Assets

Your divorce petition has been filed, and immediately, you feel as though a heavy load has been lifted from your shoulders. Finally, you can bid adieu to your spouse and get on with your life.

But not so fast.

As you navigate the divorce process — an experience that 40-50% of married couples in the United States have — you’ll have to deal with the issue of property division.

Unfortunately, property distribution is a divorce matter that often causes conflict no matter what a couple’s net worth is. Fortunately, the more you understand this complex process early on, the more effectively you can protect your rights as you proceed through it.

Here’s a rundown on what you need to know about divorce and splitting assets where you live.

Let’s jump in!

Community Property

If you live in one of the following states, your asset distribution process will be governed by the community property principle:

  • Wisconsin
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • Idaho
  • Washington
  • Texas
  • California
  • Arizona
  • Louisiana

In these states, any property that you and your spouse managed to accumulate during your marriage is considered to be community property. That means all of this property must be split 50/50 during your divorce.

This property may include real estate, retirement earnings, and income, for example.

Meanwhile, any separate property — property that you both acquired before getting married — does not have to be divided. This property may include, for example, an inheritance or a personal injury award.

Equitable Distribution

If you don’t live in the abovementioned states, you’re a part of the majority of American couples who must follow the equitable distribution principle during the divorce process.

With equitable distribution, any property that you and your spouse amassed while married will be split based on a variety of factors. These factors may include the following, for example:

  • Both parties’ monetary contributions to the marital union
  • Both parties’ non-monetary contributions to the marital union
  • How long your marriage lasted
  • Your and your spouse’s overall health
  • Both parties’ educational levels
  • Each person’s earning capacity following the divorce
  • How asset distribution will affect both parties’ tax liabilities
  • Your standard of living during the marriage

Note that with equitable division, your marital assets may not necessarily be split down the middle. Instead, you may end up receiving 60% of the assets, whereas your spouse will receive 40% of the assets.

A judge will ultimately determine the fairest, or “equitable,” way of splitting your shared assets based on the many factors listed above.

However, divorce lawyers can help you to fight for the maximum amount of assets to which you are entitled considering your unique circumstances.

How We Can Help with Divorce and Splitting Assets

In addition to highlighting how divorce and splitting assets work, we make it easy for you to find the right lawyer for your divorce case.

On our site, you can search through our directory of hundreds of law firms to pinpoint the one who best meets your needs.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can simplify your attorney search and thus approach your divorce proceeding with confidence.

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