Divorce Law Firm

Divorce is a process that takes time, compromise, and sometimes, court intervention. A settlement is not always easy between spouses who feel betrayed, angry, or bitter. Each state has laws that govern every facet of divorce, so when the parties cannot agree, a judge steps in and make decisions. A prominent issue when couples split is dividing up their money, assets, debts, and property. Some states make it an equal split while others go by what is equitable.

Property Eligible for Division
In some states, everything the couple has accumulated during their married lives is considered part of the marital pot. Other states may broaden this definition to include everything each spouse holds individually and the property they own jointly. Unless the couple has a prenuptial agreement, some of their premarital property might be rolled into the marital pot and split based on the law.

Equal Division
It probably is not difficult to understand what an equal split in property division entails. In states with this type of divide, the couple’s property is given half to each, as is the debt. Whether it means one spouse buys the other one out of jointly held assets, like a home, or the couple continues to hold it together until it sells, the outcome is the same. The money gets split equally.

Equitable Division
Equitable division states, however, work off of a different notion of splitting property between spouses. Under this strategy, the court considers many factors when deciding who gets what. The most common element a judge looks at when determining the split is what each spouse contributed to the marriage. This is not limited to financial contributions. Instead, it encompasses everything a spouse brought, such as child-rearing and emotional support. If one parent left a lucrative profession to stay home with kids so the other could climb the ladder and have a more successful career, the contribution of the primary parent is held in a lofty light. While that spouse may not have brought home a lot of money, they made it possible for the other spouse to work unfettered all those years. Thus, a court would place a high value on the stay-at-home parent in terms of contribution to the marriage.

Equitable distribution states may not always seem fair, especially to those spouses who feel like they made all the money. However, dividing property based on the totality of a spouse’s contribution may turn out to be the more fair way of doing things. Consult with a family lawyer, like a COVID-19 divorce law firm in Arlington, Virginia, to find out how your state handles this ever-important part of a divorce.

Thank you to the experts at May Law, LLP for their input into divorce and COVID-19.