Property and Debt Division for Divorce

It is very important that we have a complete picture of all the assets and debts in your life and marriage.  Most problems regarding property settlement and debt issues occur because of our lack of knowledge of an asset or debt.  Property includes real estate and personal property.  Property can include a variety of assets and cash, not just property in the typical sense, basically anything of value.  Most household items are actually sorted out between the parties in most cases, although their value may need to be offset by some other amount.  The divorce is to divide marital property, not non-marital property.  For each item it must be determined whether the item is a marital or non-marital item.  As a general rule anything acquired during the marriage other than inheritance or a specific gift is considered martial property.  The increase in value of non-marital property during the marriage can sometimes be considered marital property as well.  We will provide you a Client Information Packet that will seem overwhelming at first, but in reality will help you summarize your case and help us assist you in resolving your case.  

As with most items, if you and your spouse can come to an agreement on how to split property and debt, the court will usually accept the agreement.  Generally the court is looking for a fair and equitable division of the marital estate.  In the end the agreement must be fair and not unconscionable.

Many times what seems like a simple splitting of all items (debts and cash accounts) will not work.  Furthermore, the decree may determine that one party or the other is responsible for a debt.  This decree many times will not satisfy a creditor and will not relieve you of responsibility if the other party fails to pay.  If your spouse does not pay the debt as ordered, the creditor may still look to you for payment.  For example, refinancing a house to remove the other party’s name or closing an account might be the best solution to end any future problems.  

Alimony

Almost everyone getting divorced wants to know if they will have to pay alimony or if they will receive alimony.  Alimony can be awarded temporarily during the divorce and it can be ordered after the divorce as well.  The final decision is up to the court, if an agreement is not reached.   Some of the factors the Court considers are as follows:

  • Relative earning capacity, needs and obligations, and the ability to pay;
  • Education and ability of the parties, as well as opportunities for additional education;
  • Length of the marriage;
  • Age, physical, and mental condition of the two parties;
  • Whether or not one of the parties stayed at home with the child(ren) of the parties instead of working;
  • Reduced or lost earning capacity of party seeking alimony as a result of having forgone or delayed education, training, employment or career opportunities during the marriage;
  • Contributions and services of the party seeking alimony to the education or career of the other spouse;
  • Other factors that the Court considers appropriate.

Cost of the Case

Legal cases can be expensive.  You and your spouse have some control over the cost.  Your total bill will vary depending on many factors such as: opposing attorney, your spouse, you, and the facts in your case.