Westport Division of Assets Lawyer

Getting a divorce involves a range of complex and difficult issues. Dividing the assets of the marriage can be one of the most bitterly divisive. To safeguard your financial future, you need advice from lawyers who know family law inside and out, and who have handled many division of assets cases in the past.

Consider all the assets that a typical couple acquires during a marriage, or already owned before the marriage began:

  • The family home, and other real estate
  • Money in retirement plans
  • Stocks, bonds, options, and other investments
  • Bank accounts
  • Personal property (furniture, antiques, collectibles)
  • Closely held businesses

Figuring out who gets what can be daunting, even if the divorce is relatively amicable. That is why retaining the services of an experienced Westport division of assets lawyer is so crucial to protecting your assets during a divorce. Contact a distinguished divorce attorney today to begin the process.

Community Property vs. Equitable Distribution

Different states take different approaches to the division of assets. Some states define community property as any asset acquired, or income earned, by a married person while living with a spouse. The property must be divided evenly if the marriage is dissolved.

Most states, including Connecticut, have an “equitable distribution” policy. In these states, property acquired during the marriage belongs to the spouse who earned it. In case of divorce, the property will be divided between the spouses in a “fair and equitable” way.

There is no rigid book of rules for determining who receives what or how much. The court can look at a multitude of factors. For example, the court may look at the relative earning contributions of the spouses, the value of one spouse staying at home or raising the children, and the earning potential of each.

Except in extraordinary cases, a spouse will get between one-third and two-thirds of the marital property.

Making Negotiations

A court will only use the equitable distribution formula if the couple is unable to negotiate a property settlement on their own. If the spouses are able to agree on how to divide a portion of their assets, but not all of them, the court will step in to distribute the undivided portion.

Unless the divorce is bitterly contested, it is always better to sit down and negotiate a settlement that suits the individual couple’s needs, rather than the one size fits all approach mandated by state law.

A particular piece of property might have particular value to one of the spouses. Other issues that must be negotiated, such as child custody or visitation rights, can be added to the mix.

Assets should not be divided simply based on their current value. Experienced Westport division of assets attorneys can provide a more sophisticated appraisal of an asset – its liquidity, cost basis, and any tax implications that will arise if the client tries to sell it.

Marital Agreements

One complicating factor is whether or not a marital agreement is enforced that determines how assets should be distributed.

A prenuptial agreement is a written contract created by two people that is finalized before they are married. A prenup typically lists all of the property each person owns, plus any debts. It specifies what each person’s property rights will be after the marriage.

Some kinds of property acquired during marriage automatically become part of the marital estate. A prenup can define whether an asset is the separate property of one spouse or whether the asset is part of the marital estate.

Working wtih a Westport Division of Assets Attorney

It is critical to get advice from Westport division of assets lawyers with experience regarding division of marital assets – with both the family law background and the financial expertise to provide you with the counsel you deserve.