Property Division

A judge has the power to award pre-marital and marital assets in a divorce action. Assets can include, but are not limited to, bank accounts, businesses, homes, retirement accounts, stock, stock options, property held in trust, and vehicles.

Many factors are taken into consideration when dividing property including:

  • Length of marriage
  • Conduct of the parties as to economic impact
  • Age
  • Health
  • Station
  • Occupation
  • Amount and sources of income
  • Vocational skills
  • Employability
  • Estate
  • Liabilities
  • Needs of the parties and children
  • Opportunity of each party for future acquisition of capital assets and income
  • Contribution of the parties as homemakers to the family unit

All of these factors must be addressed in determining an equitable distribution of property. Property distribution can also be weighed against alimony or could be provided in lieu of alimony, depending on the facts of each case.

Once the divorce process begins, it is usually in everyone’s best interest to begin valuing all of the marital assets. This if often done by an expert retained jointly or separately by the parties. The reports prepared by the experts assist the attorneys, clients, and the court in determining how assets will be divided and the value to assign to each asset.

Through the discovery process, the parties exchange financial information, including bank statements, investment statements, pay stubs, tax returns, as well as any other requested document that is relevant to the case. This information assists in determining what assets are available and how they should be divided.

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