When a marriage ends, the divorce court is responsible for dividing marital property between the spouses. If you’re divorcing, a family law attorney can help you advocate for an equitable share of your joint assets. We appreciate how certain property is financially and even emotionally important to you, such as inheritances, family heirlooms, retirement, and business assets. A Westport property division lawyer can advise you and help you design an approach for your financial future.
What Is Marital Property?
Before a divorce court judge can divide marital property, they must first determine what property should be divided—including valuables, real estate, financial accounts, pensions, stocks, and business assets. Many states categorize married couples’ assets as marital and separate property, with marital property divided between the spouses and separate property retained individually.
On the other hand, Connecticut is an “all property” state and doesn’t distinguish between marital and separate property. Instead, the divorce court here has the power to divide all the assets held in a marriage. The judge must divide this property equitably, although this doesn’t necessarily mean they will divide it equally between the spouses. The court has broad discretion to determine what’s equitable, and it’s heavily reliant on each couple’s facts and circumstances.
Given the state’s approach to dividing property, seeking the guidance of a Westport property division attorney is vital, so you can understand the realities of how things work and can make a plan for your future in line with the Connecticut approach. Then, your lawyer advocates for your property division priorities either in negotiations with the other side, in front of the divorce court judge, or both.
Can a Prenuptial Agreement Affect Property Division?
Although the law might treat all property as marital property, a marital agreement can override that law in some situations. For example, before they wed, spouses can enter into a prenuptial agreement determining how property should be divided if they divorce.
If you follow Connecticut’s requirements, the prenup will be legally binding and can override the “default” property division law in many situations. For example, a court-enforced marital agreement can allow you to retain ownership of the property you bring into a marriage.
How Do Judges Determine What is Equitable?
The divorce court judge can consider a range of factors when deciding how to divide a couple’s property, including the length of the marriage and the ability of each person to receive income. The divorce court judge might also consider the spouses’ health and age. A Westport property division attorney can explain how these factors might affect your situation.
During divorce proceedings, the judge can consider whether either spouse committed any financial misconduct during the marriage. For example, a spouse who wastefully or fraudulently spent joint funds during the divorce could receive less when the divorce court divides the property.
Call a Westport Property Division Attorney Today
Dividing marital property is often a complex and potentially contentious aspect of a divorce, especially when many of your possessions may have special meaning to you. Therefore, having legal counsel you can trust and confide in is crucial. Reaching agreements with your spouse about how property should be divided, avoids the unpredictability of litigating before a judge. When a negotiated resolution isn’t in the cards, you need an attorney who understands the ins and outs of property division advocacy.