Not On My Property: Understanding Property Division

January 5, 2021

No one ever plans on getting divorced or separated from their significant other. This is why our wedding vows always include, “Till death do we part.” But unfortunately, this isn’t the case for more than most wedded couples. When more than half of marriages end in divorce, it begs the question about what happens to the different properties these couples had when they were married. What happens to the family home? The Miami timeshare or that beautiful summer house on Lake Altoona? You might be surprised to find out that these decisions are not exactly determined from a coin toss. 

Property division is an integral part of the divorce process. Many couples looking for a divorce usually have several pieces of estate properties that they purchased over the course of their marriage. These pieces of property are usually brought to the forefront of any divorce mediation. While the distribution of these properties usually results in more mitigation and arguing, it’s important to loop it in with your divorce hearing in order to save a substantial amount of money and time in the long run.

Dotting Your I’s And Crossing Your T’s: Understanding Property Division

It can be pretty difficult to understand property division and how it relates to divorce hearings and cases. With so many moving pieces, the divorce process can be pretty complex in general. But no need to fear; this is where we come in. Also known as equitable distribution, property division is essentially the judicial process of dividing property rights and obligations between a pair of spouses during their divorce proceedings. This may result in more arguing and more conflict among the two spouses but usually results in a peaceful division of their properties and the rights to said properties. 

A major piece of property that is fought over is the central house that the two spouses lived in during the course of their marriage. This usually falls into the hands of the spouse with primary custody over the couple’s children. This is done in order not to completely uproot or disrupt the children’s lives. While it’s usually the mother who is granted full custody, any parent can be eligible for full custody of their children.

Who Gets What: The Distribution Of Property

While most property division is left for the court to decide for each spouse, it’s not uncommon for the spouses themselves to decide who gets what and how the property is eventually divided. It is only when a couple cannot decide who gets what is that the decision is given to the hands of the court. 

With the exceptions of a few states, the courts divide all properties and monetary possessions evenly for both spouses. This allows for equal opportunity and equality among both spouses. This division of property and assets is called equitable distribution. It’s also important to note that the splitting of property does not entail an actual split. The courts will sometimes determine the property’s value and split the amount evenly among the two spouses.