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Divorce and Property Division

During divorce proceedings, property is always discussed because both parties have to agree on “who gets what.” According to legalmatch.com, “in standard divorce cases, the parties may not be willing to cooperate” and this is where the complications begin. The arguments are usually about the children, alimony, child support, and property division. At a time when both parties are emotional, lawyers are needed to step in and provide some objectivity and practicality.

Unfortunately, the statistics on divorce in the USA based on 2013 figures, about 50% of marriages end in divorce. The same study reveals that people who remarry have an even higher chance of getting divorced. This creates a messy situation as one’s ownership of property has a higher chance of dwindling with every divorce proceeding and the bitterness and anxiety over property becomes even more intense.

Thus, the most important tip you will ever get about divorce and property division is to find the best divorce lawyer you can afford. This lawyer should have the skills and experience to negotiate on your behalf and fight for your right to get a fair distribution of conjugal property.

What is Conjugal Property?

Conjugal property is also known as “marital property” or property acquired during the marriage. It does not matter if the property was paid for by one party or both parties. What is important is the timeline when the property was bought or acquired. Marital property does not only refer to real estate. It can also mean cars, furniture, paintings, jewelry, money, businesses, stocks and bonds, insurance, and even retirement plans.

Property that was acquired before a divorce but during a separation is still categorized as marital property. The clock stops ticking once one person dies or the divorce papers are final.

On the other hand, non-marital property refers to property acquired before marriage like an inheritance or gift. Non-marital property is not included in the division of assets. However, if both parties “lived in together” and bought or acquired property, then it can be considered marital property even without the wedding. This is because there is the presumption of commingled funds. An exception to this is if one party can provide direct evidence of funds from a non-marital source in acquiring the property.

There are some cases when one piece of property is both marital and non-marital at the same time. Situations like acquiring a house as a gift before marriage but paying off the mortgage as a wedded couple is a prime example. Lawyers will have to work out an agreement on division of this particular asset so it is fair for both parties.

If both parties fail to reach an agreement even with the help of their respective lawyers, the case will have to go before a judge. At this point, all previous negotiations are off the table and the judge will assess and decide on the property division. In cases of fixed assets like cars and houses, the judge will ask one party to pay or buy the share of the other party. If this is not possible, it is highly likely that the judge will tell both parties to sell the property instead and divide the cash according to the court’s computation on percentages.

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