May 19, 2024

politics of law

Politics and Law

Understanding the Role of a Divorce Lawyer in Property Division

3 min read

If you’re going through a divorce, it’s essential to understand how the property division process works. The law is clear about the factors courts look at when determining how to distribute assets between spouses.

Understanding these factors can make the process much easier to navigate. It also helps you and your lawyer be prepared for potentially contentious discussions that could occur during the divorce process.

The Role of the Lawyer

Understanding the Role of a Divorce Lawyer in Property Division.

As many divorcing couples know, the division of property is one of the most complex aspects of a divorce. Not only does each spouse have their property, but also a substantial amount of marital assets and debts.

The key is to ensure each asset is evaluated by a financial expert and itemized to determine its value. This process can be difficult and time-consuming, but it is essential to the final result.

A reasonable family law attorney such as a Sugar Land divorce attorney will work closely with forensic accountants and appraisers to ensure that all marital assets are valued accurately and fairly. This includes assessing the future earning potential of complicated investments such as private companies, stock options, hedge funds, restricted stock, and partnerships with limited interests.

As a result, the lawyer will often need to review documents such as tax records and bank statements. The lawyer will then be able to quickly sort through them and determine what may be a crucial piece of evidence in negotiations or court.

Valuation of Assets

The valuation of assets during property division is an essential part of the process. Assets include real estate, retirement accounts, stocks and savings, debts, business interests, and anything else that has value.

In a divorce, it is essential to properly value all marital assets to ensure you receive an equitable share of them. Some assets are more straightforward to determine the value of than others.

These assets include marital homes, stocks, retirement accounts, and debts. The court will also consider how much each party earned during the marriage.

If one spouse earned more money during the marriage, they might be awarded more assets.

Other assets are more difficult to determine the value of and could require expert witness testimony or appraisals. This can be especially true for businesses, professional practices, and advanced degrees.

Debts

When a couple separates, their assets and debts must be divided. In most states, the laws for property division are based on “equitable distribution,” which is a process that judges use to determine how to divide property and debt fairly between spouses.

The court will look at the value of all assets and debts on the date of separation and passive increases or decreases in those values between that time and the final distribution order. Then, it will assign a percentage of the total property and debt to each spouse so that their share of the property and debt equals what the judge gave to them.

Generally, any debt acquired during the marriage incurred for the benefit of the marriage is considered marital debt and the obligation of both spouses. However, there are some exceptions to this rule: secret purchases during extramarital activities (such as gambling) can be deemed separate debt and remain solely the responsibility of the person who acquired them.

Future Earnings

One of the essential functions of a divorce attorney is to determine the fair division of assets and debts. This is done by evaluating several factors, including but not limited to the contributions of each spouse to the marriage and the ability of the parties to acquire assets in the future.

The court will usually assign each spouse a percentage of the total value of all marital property (sometimes referred to as the marriage estate) minus their debts. The court will then distribute those assets and allocate the debts accordingly, resulting in a fair and equitable property division.


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