Different states have different laws regarding divorce. Here in Connecticut, the law dictates that couples who divorce divide their assets and debts fairly and equitably regardless of whether they go to court.
What determines fair and equitable?
This is not necessarily a half-half split between the spouses. Instead, it is supposed to reflect unique factors of the marriage, examples include:
- Who generated more income
- The length of the marriage
- Ability of a spouse to support themselves after the divorce
- Spouse who generated more debt, although the creditor can still hold the other spouse responsible after the divorce.
- The conditions of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
- Connecticut is a no-fault state, but the cause of the marriage’s demise can have some bearing on the division of assets.
- Other divorce arrangements, such as child support or alimony.
Non-marital assets still in play
Unlike many states, Connecticut also does not consider non-marital property as off-limits unless there is a binding prenuptial agreement. Many states separate marital property from the non-marital property. Marital assets generally encompass all property, cars, businesses, retirement accounts, money, investments, and things of value accrued or used during a marriage. Non-marital is often accrued before the marriage or was a gift or inheritance.
Often couples end up mingling their assets — a mingled asset would be a home where the other spouse moves into and helps make payments on or pays for renovation or addition. It can also be a matter where a spouse contributed to the early success of a business, even if there was no official job description.
Getting an accurate division of assets
Couples will often disagree on marital and non-marital assets. Family law attorneys have experience in dividing assets and debts during a divorce. They understand how to value assets, yet in complex cases it may be necessary to use expert witnesses to value a business, an art collection, or even an investment portfolio. The two sides can then discuss how to divide up the assets and determine “fair and equitable.” A judge will have the final say if the divorce is litigated, but couples may prefer negotiating their divorce agreement and division of assets using mediation.