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Explore General Legal Issues

3 Questions About Dividing Property When Getting Divorced

by Ralph Griffin

The process of getting divorced can be long and complicated, with couples having many questions about what will happen when they start the process. Since property distribution is a common issue of contention in a divorce, you'll likely have one of these questions about it. 

Can You End Up With Less Than Half?

The goal of divorce is to split up assets fairly between both people so that things are fair, which leads people to believe that things will be split 50/50. However, many times assets aren't divided right down the middle. It is very possible that the asset distribution will be a bit unbalanced in the end. This is largely due to your belongings being categorized into marital and non-marital assets.

Anything that you had before the marriage happened could be considered a non-marital asset, and would not be subjected to asset distribution during a divorce, for example, if you bought a car before you were married or even brought furniture from your previous place to your new home as a married couple. Assets do not automatically become joint just because you got married, and you will still be able to hold onto things that were yours from before the marriage.

Can Property Become A Marital Asset?

You should keep in mind that some assets can start off as non-marital assets and then become marital assets. This often happens when one person buys a home before getting married, and then are commingled as part of the marriage with both spouses making payments towards the house. This can be in the form of that monthly mortgage payment, home maintenance, utility bills, and things of that nature. The same can be said of a car that still has regular car payments from before the marriage, and both contribute to the payments after they are married.

Is All Property Assumed To Be A Marital Asset? 

It is very common for assumptions to be made about assets during a divorce where everything is a marital asset. This means that you are forced to prove that something is a non-marital asset, rather than needing to prove that the item is a marital asset. This can make the divorce process long and contentious since couples are arguing about why the property should not be split.

It helps to go into a divorce by making a list of assets that you feel are non-marital assets that belong to you, and have your spouse do the same. This can help speed up the process by quickly categorizing things as non-marital assets, which saves you time and money in mediation. Talk to a divorce lawyer for more information.