The definition of property in a divorce isn’t limited to just the home a couple shared. It can also include debt, bank accounts, retirement accounts, trusts, gifts and even pets acquired during the marriage. In fact, just about anything is subject to division in a divorce, which is why it’s important to hire a trusted legal team that can help you retain property and reach an agreement with your partner on how assets will be divided.
There are two types of property defined by the law: marital property, which is comprised of assets spouses acquire during the course of their marriage, and personal (or separate) property which refers to assets each partner owned prior to the marriage or property that was gifted to them which was not integrated with marital assets. Couples are encouraged to work out an agreement on how their property will be divided. If they cannot agree, then the court will decide how to divide their property for them.
A court will decide how to divide all marital assets equitably, which means in a fair and impartial manner. Please note that equitably does not necessarily mean the same as equally. Each divorce is different; therefore, the court takes into consideration many factors when deciding on an equitable property division. The court may examine the length of the marriage, the income of each partner, contributions made by the spouses to the marital estate, each spouse’s age, health, and more. When a small business owned by either or both partners is involved, the Court may also include a valuation of the business in the division of assets, which will include a monetary determination of any patents, copyrights, and “goodwill” of the business. Sometimes a spouse has hidden assets, which means a spouse may not be aware of the other spouse’s ownership of certain assets. Funds in foreign accounts, deferred income from an employer, small business ownership and assets transferred to family members or friends can all be considered hidden assets. The team at Karpenski & Schmelkin knows how to find hidden assets, through bank account statements, tax records, pay stubs, third party subpoenas, forensic accounting and more.
As you will see, the division of property during a divorce is not always straightforward. The team at Karpenski & Schmelkin has years of experience in family law and helping clients work out property disputes, no matter how complicated they may seem. During the emotionally charged time that divorce brings, you need a legal firm that has your best interests at the forefront and treats you as an individual. Contact us to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can create a positive outcome for you.
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