When you and your spouse decide to divorce, it isn’t as simple as signing a piece of paper and going your separate ways. The dissolution of your marriage is a lengthy legal process that includes dividing all your property. However, the process varies from state to state, making it crucial to understand the statutes where you live. Keep reading to learn the difference between community property and equitable distribution and discover how a Los Angeles division of assets attorney can help ensure you are represented during the process.
What Are Community Property and Equitable Distribution States?
When dividing property among spouses, there are two approaches – community property and equitable distribution. A vast majority of states have adopted equitable distribution as the standard, but there are a handful of states still operating under community property laws.
Equitable distribution states believe that the division of assets should be fair, but not equal. Many states will examine Bvarious to determine how property will be distributed among spouses. This means each spouse will receive relative funds and assets based on their contribution to the marriage. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- How long the marriage lasted
- Each spouse’s income
- The value of the assets
- How much each spouse contributed to the marriage
Community property states, on the other hand, believe that any assets gained during marriage belong to both spouses. This includes funds, assets, businesses, debt, and property. In cases of divorce, these will be split 50/50 and awarded to both parties, no matter how much either spouse contributed to the marriage financially or functionally.
However, there are exceptions when the property would be considered separate in equitable distribution states. For example, most property or funds owned before the marriage or inherited while married are considered separate property. This means your spouse would not be entitled to the home you inherited from your parents unless you put their name on the deed.
Should I Contact an Attorney?
When going through a divorce, ensuring you have an attorney on your side is essential. After all, you don’t want to be stuck relinquishing separate property or inheriting your spouse’s student loan debt if it’s not applicable to your situation.
Even if you think your property is not worth much, ensuring an attorney reviews all your assets is vital to protecting yourself during a divorce.
If you need help protecting yourself, the Zitser Family Law Group is ready to take on your case. Our experienced legal team can guide you through the process to ensure the distribution is equal and fair. Reach out today to connect with an experienced attorney to discuss the details of your case.