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Property Division Lawyers

Property division is a major aspect of divorce. Couples who are divorcing may choose to make an agreement outside of court stating how property will be divided. Often they do this in mediation. If the courts must decide how property will be divided it can be a lengthy and expensive process.

Nine states have community property laws, where all property acquired during the marriage is divided equally between the parties. The remaining states use a system called equitable distribution, where the property is not necessarily divided equally, but is divided “fairly” according to the income level of each spouse. The spouse with the higher income will receive the larger portion of the property. In a fault divorce, fault can affect the outcome of property division.

In most divorces the property is split by monetary value, not physically divided item by item. Each spouse will receive a total amount of items, property and debt that constitutes their monetary portion. In some cases this will mean that property must be sold in order to achieve an equitable division.

The House
One of the most common battles in property division is over who will get to stay in the house. If children are involved, they come first, and they get to stay in the house, so whichever parent gets custody of the children will get to stay in the house. After children, the next consideration is whose name is on the deed. If the house is in one spouse’s name, that person is more likely to get to stay in the house. If the house is in both party’s names and they cannot reach an agreement, the court will decide.

Sometimes neither party will continue to live in the house, and the house may be sold or rented with both parties receiving a portion of the profits. If the house is rented, one spouse will be in charge of managing the rental property. If couples cannot agree on who will do this, the court may appoint either spouse or a third party. If a spouse manages the rental property and somehow fails in this duty, the other spouse may petition the court for control of the property.

Physical property is not the only “property” subject to division during a divorce. Retirement benefits, pensions, stock options, insurance benefits, and debts are all considered property to be divided between spouses.

Both parties are required to fully disclose all income, assets and debts during the divorce proceedings. It is not uncommon for one or both parties to hide assets either accidentally or intentionally. Investigating hidden assets can become a costly process, and parties who intentionally hide assets and get caught can be forced to reimburse their spouse for the expense.

Property division is best handled out of court, preferably with the assistance of a mediator or other objective third party. However, sometimes this does not work.

If you are facing a divorce, contact a divorce lawyer with substantial property division experience today.

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Disclaimer: Information contained throughout The Divorce Lawyer Directory is intended to generally inform you about divorce law and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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