What are “Divorce Assets”?
In a divorce proceeding, one of the main tasks is to determine how property and money are to be distributed between the parties. “Divorce assets” thus refers to property that will be addressed and handled through the divorce process.
Generally speaking, divorce assets can also be referred to by other names, such as “marital assets” or “marital property”. However, these terms can often require further clarification. Technical, martial assets only refer to property that is owned jointly by the parties. This property will usually be split 50-50 by the parties during the divorce, or according to their proportion of ownership of the item.
On the other hand, “separate property” is property that is owned only by one spouse, usually as a result of a gift or acquisition before the marriage. The owner of such property will usually retain full ownership of the item or assets after the divorce. Divorce proceedings cover both separate and marital property, subject to individual state laws.
What if There is a Dispute Over Assets in a Divorce?
Disputes over assets commonly occur in a divorce lawsuit. Disputes can often revolve around assets such as:
- The marriage home
- Cars, boats, or other vehicles
- Securities such as stocks and bonds
- Money being held in a joint account (commingling property such that it is hard to tell who owns which parts)
- Debts owed jointly by the parties
Disputes over assets usually require a court to go back and analyze the asset to see which party owns it, and whether it is being owned jointly. This is called “characterization” of the asset.
After making such determinations, the court will then attempt to assign a figure that each party is entitled to, as well as how much they might owe (if any). As you may be able to tell, this can be a lengthy and complicated process.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Divorce Assets?
Filing for divorce typically requires the assistance of a qualified family law attorney. You may need to hire a lawyer for help with issues like property characterization and the division of assets. Your attorney will be able to explain how the laws in your area work, as these may be different in each state. Also, your lawyer can provide you with representation during the actual court meetings.
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Last Modified: 03-15-2013 12:08 PM PDT
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