When a married couple divorces or separates, one of the main issues that must be addressed is how to divide their property. Couples in Fairfield County may either divide their property through a private agreement or let a judge decide who gets what. Dividing property can be particularly challenging in high net-worth marriages which may involve hidden assets, sophisticated financial instruments, and complex tax liability issues. Further complicating the issue is that in Connecticut, unlike some other states, there is no automatic exclusion (absent a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement) from divorce for certain types of property – such as premarital or inherited assets.
If your marriage is coming to an end and you have questions about the disbursement of assets and debt, a Fairfield County property division lawyer could help you. Discussing the financial aspects of an impending divorce or separation with a family law attorney can help you navigate the process with greater confidence. An attorney could help you fight for your property while ensuring you are ready for your life after divorce.
In a divorce, property is not necessarily split fifty-fifty because Connecticut courts adhere to the principle of equitable distribution, requiring property to be divided fairly though not always equally. Furthermore, in Connecticut, there is no automatic exclusion from the divorce for what other states refer to as “separate property”, typically assets owned prior to the marriage or inherited or received by just one spouse during the marriage and kept separate. As such Connecticut is considered an “all property” state as opposed to a “Community Property” or “Separate Property” state. According to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-81, a judge has immense discretion in dividing property upon divorce and is obligated to consider a great many statutory factors when determining how to divide property equitably, including but are not limited to, the following:
Although not a controlling factor in and of itself, the length of the marriage is generally accorded significant weight in the equitable distribution calculation. The longer the marriage, the more likely a court is to divide property equally.
Even if the spouses are seeking a divorce or legal separation on no-fault grounds, any wrongdoing on the part of either spouse might still be relevant when dividing property.
These factors, especially as they pertain to a party’s ability to maintain or obtain employment, re-enter the workforce and accumulate and preserve assets for future use and support is an important factor.
Another important factor the courts consider is the ability of either party to earn money and be financially independent after the marriage is over.
Other factors that a judge is statutorily required to consider when dividing property include the age of the parties, their current and probable future needs, and the contribution of each party during the marriage to acquiring, preserving, and appreciating assets.
The respective ability of each party to support themselves and acquire wealth post-divorce plays a role in the decision as to how the couple’s assets will be allocated upon a divorce.
Not surprisingly, another important factor is the role each party played during the marriage in terms their contributions to te assets to be divided. Note, this absolutely does not mean that a non-working spouse automatically had no contribution in this regard. To the contrary, Connecticut law specifically recognizes the economic contributions of a non-working spouse.
The issue of property division is an important one if your marriage is coming to an end either through divorce or separation. Ideally, you and the other party will be able to negotiate a property division agreement that avoids all the hassle and expense of significant court involvement. Contact a Fairfield County property division lawyer today for additional information about this topic and to learn more about the advantages of having legal representation.