Divorce can be a difficult time for you and to make matters worse, there is a need to determine the division of the assets and debts between you and your spouse. This post looks at how a family law attorney can help establish an equitable property division settlement. The division of marital property requires the creation of lasting resolutions. Agreements vary when it comes to the distribution of property and they can be creatively tailored to meet your specific requirement. You cannot go about it alone. Hire a family law attorney such as an Eldersburg MD Family Law Attorney to help you through the entire process.
The attorney will help you explore all the options available keeping your needs in mind. He or she will ensure that your rights are protected. In certain cases, a tax specialist or a financial expert might also be required due to the complexity of the divorce.
Basics of Property Division
Couples must divide debt and marital property in every divorce before the judge grants the request for a divorce. There are two choices available to couples. Either they can ask the court to decide the matter for them or they can work together to determine which property each of them would take away.
Moreover, if someone lives in a community property state, then the court would presume that any assets accrued during the marriage would be considered as the property of both spouses equally. You have to ask the court to award you a separate property if you have a property that belongs to you, whether it had been acquired along during the relationship or brought into the marriage.
There are equitable distribution states where the court would divide the marital property equally between the spouses. It might not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. The property would be categorized as marital or separate by the court before the judge awards any part of the property to either spouse. Anyone that has separate property will need to prove ownership of the property through witnesses, receipts and any other evidence.
Work Together to Reach a Property Agreement
A family law attorney will assist you and your spouse to work together and reach a property agreement. The judge cannot understand your circumstances as well as you or your spouse. If you and your spouse want control over the split of assets and assets in the divorce, then a family law attorney can be hired to ensure that you and your partner work together efficiently. It will help prevent the court from making the decision.
List of Assets
Begin the property division process by creating a list of assets and liabilities. The family law attorney will assist you in identifying which property should be received by you and your spouse in the divorce process. Once the list has been completed, the family law attorney will analyze it with you to ensure its authenticity and genuineness.
Moreover, if you or your spouse have a dispute when completing the list, the attorney will help ensure that you both work together to resolve it. It will ensure that the list is finished accordingly. Transparency is crucial throughout the property division process.
Both spouses are required to identify all assets acquired during the marriage. It includes equipment, recreational vehicles, real estate, pensions, retirement accounts, vehicles, insurance policies, bank accounts and any other asset that holds value.
Furthermore, if you had agreed to a property settlement and discovered later on that your spouse had failed to disclose an asset, then a family law attorney will ask the judge to reopen the case to make changes to the property division. Besides just losing the asset, the guilty spouse will also face penalties or fines if the judge is of the view that the ex-spouse had intentionally hidden or failed to disclose information relating to the asset. When it comes to disclosure, honesty is always the best policy.
Valuation of Property
The worth of the property has to be determined for an equitable property division settlement. Normally, the court would accept the fair market value (FMV) for each item. Fair market value is the amount of money that an asset can fetch in a market if it were to be sold in the market today. It is not the amount that you had paid for it. An independent appraiser may be hired to value each asset.
Determine Whether the Property Is Separate or Marital
Whether you reside in an equitable distribution or a community property state, if you or your spouse owns the separate property, then it would remain in that person’s possession. The family law attorney will help you categorize which assets are separate before moving forward. The owner of each asset should be identified by each spouse.
If there is a disagreement regarding the fact that whether the asset is separate or marital, an attorney will help you claim whether the asset is separate or marital in court. The date of purchase is an important indicator, along with where the funds came from for making the purchase and how the asset had been kept separate during the marriage.
When it comes to property division in a divorce, marital debt cannot be excluded. If a joint debt had been acquired during marriage such as tax debt, car payment or mortgage, then it would normally be split between you and your spouse during the divorce. However, if you used a credit card in only your name and it had never been used for marital purposes such as groceries, then only you would be responsible for the debt owed.
Draft a Settlement Agreement
A family law attorney can help you and your spouse by drafting a settlement agreement. If both of you agree on all terms of the property and debt division, then a property settlement agreement will be presented by the attorney in court. An experienced attorney will prepare a strong settlement agreement to avoid any disputes in the future. In most cases, the agreement will be accepted by the judge.