In a divorce, the division of a couple’s assets and debts is referred to as equitable distribution, a process grounded in the theory that the marital relationship is a partnership. As such, the fact that one spouse may have taken on a “supportive” role in the marriage as a stay-at-home parent will not preclude that spouse from sharing in the marital estate. Notwithstanding, “equitable distribution” does not automatically translate to an “equal distribution” of assets between spouses and the court in evaluating a family’s assets and debts must consider a host of statutorily prescribed factors.
Certain assets are considered exempt from equitable distribution all together including property acquired prior to the marriage (“premarital” property), and property received by either party by way of gift from a third party, or inheritance. However, property originally classified as exempt from equitable distribution may lose its exempt categorization in the event one spouse makes an interspousal gift of the property to the other or otherwise “commingles” the property with marital assets.
As per the above, the process of equitable distribution upon divorce can be complex. The attorneys at Eveland & Foster, LLC are well versed in the nuances of same and can assist you in protecting your interest in the marital estate.
Assets Subject to Equitable Distribution:
- Real property, including marital home, vacation homes, rental properties, timeshares
- Business interests including professional practices, companies, etc.
- Bank accounts/Investment Accounts
- Retirement plans, pensions, 401K’s, 403B accounts, deferred compensation, IRA’s, etc.
- Stocks and Stock Options
- Personal property (i.e. collectibles)
Debts Subject to Equitable Distribution:
- Credit card debts
- Debts owed to third parties