When you and your spouse make the decision to divorce, two major and often contentious issues arise. One, if there are children, is child custody. The other is how marital property will be divided. In other words, who gets the house? Or the retirement accounts? Or the summer cottage that your spouse’s parents gave him a couple of years ago?
Worrying about asset division should not make you feel petty or greedy. In fact, it’s normal to be worried about losing money and other belongings that have been a part of your life. Together with your lawyers, you and your spouse may opt to come to your own arrangement regarding who gets what, but if an amicable agreement proves impossible, the court will step in.
Equitable Distribution Explained
When it comes to marital property, Connecticut is an equitable distribution state. This does not mean that the property will be split 50/50 between you and your spouse. ‘Equitable’ means that the courts will divide it in a way deemed to be fair to both parties, and the ‘fairness’ could dictate that one of you gets more than the other.
When dividing up the marital property, several different factors are taken into consideration. They include but are not limited to:
- How long your marriage lasted
- The reasons why the marriage came to an end
- The respective ages and health condition of each spouse
- The current income, occupation, and employability of each spouse
- The personal assets and liabilities of each spouse
- The ability of each spouse to be self-sustaining
- The contribution that each spouse made to the acquisition, maintenance, or appreciation of marital assets
Fault is also considered by the court in making property division determinations. If one of you contributed substantially to the breakdown of the marriage, it is possible the other may be compensated with a greater share of marital assets than they might otherwise have received.
Property and Ownership Rights in a Divorce
Connecticut differs from many other states in the way that it regards property and ownership rights. When a couple divorces, practically all property is subject to distribution. This includes:
- Property that each spouse acquired prior to the marriage
- Property in the name of one spouse only
- Inheritances and gifts
The court will divide these and other assets as fairly as possible, but the only way to maintain a degree of control over property distribution is to come to an agreement with your spouse or use a tool like divorce mediation to resolve things on more amicable terms.
At Freed Marcroft, we give you advice appropriate to your circumstances and provide the legal guidance and support you need to move on to the next phase of your life. If you are considering filing for divorce in Connecticut, please contact Freed Marcroft to schedule a consultation.