Are Assets Split 50/50 in a Divorce?
Most people assume that assets are split evenly during a divorce. And it seems like common sense -- after all, you both contributed equally to those assets.
But there are exceptions to this rule. Sometimes, one person may have done more work than the other. Or maybe one spouse earned less money than the other.
That’s why knowing what happens to each asset when a couple divorces is important. Also, an experienced family law lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you explain and navigate the entire divorce process. Contact us today at Thorntonesquirelawgroup for a free consultation.Property Division Basics
In every divorce, a couple’s property and debts must be distributed between them. Each spouse keeps his or her own separate property, and he or she is responsible for paying his or her own separate debt.
The division of property depends on whether it’s considered marital or separate property. Marital property includes assets acquired during the course of the marriage, such as homes, cars, bank accounts, retirement plans, stocks, bonds, insurance policies, etc. Separate property includes everything else — including money earned during the marriage, income received outside the marriage, inheritances, gifts, etc.
Although a judge will need to approve a property settlement, most states require that spouses negotiate a written agreement before filing for divorce. If you and your spouse don’t reach an agreement, however, either party can ask a court to decide what should happen to your property.
Divorce laws vary widely across the United States, but generally speaking, property settlements are based on three factors:
- How much each spouse brought into the marriage;
- What does each spouse do to earn those funds; and
- Whether one spouse contributed more to the family than the other.
Marital property includes everything you own together — like money, homes, cars, bank accounts, retirement plans, and even pets. But what happens when one spouse wants more than half of it? States have two different approaches to how to divide up marital property: equitable division and community property.
Equitable division is based on the idea that both spouses contribute equally during the marriage. In some cases, the court might award each partner 50 percent of the total value of the assets. Equitable division is used most often in divorce proceedings where there are no children involved.
Community property is based on the concept that all property acquired during the course of a marriage belongs to both partners equally. This approach is typically applied in situations involving children. Community property laws vary widely across the United States.Equitable Division States: Splitting Property Fairly
Marital property law is one of those things that sounds good on paper. It’s actually pretty complicated. And it gets even trickier when you start thinking about how to divide the stuff you’reou’re divorced—especially if there are kids involved.
The legal term for dividing up property is called “equitable distribution.” This process involves weighing the different factors that make up a person’s life and figuring out how much of each asset belongs to them. For example, if someone owns a house and another spouse works full-time, the judge might decide that half of the home’s value goes to the person who stays at home while the other half goes to the person who works outside the home. If both spouses work, however, the judge might decide to give them equal shares of everything.
In some cases, though, the court might decide that the entire amount of certain property types should go to one partner. For instance, if a husband earns $1 million a year and his wife makes $100,000 a year, the judge might decide he deserves half of whatever she earns. On the other hand, if the woman makes twice as much money as the man, the judge might decide she deserves the whole thing.
This article explains how courts determine whether something is marital property and how it divides it up.Community Property States: 50/50 Ownership
In many cases, this means that if you are married, the court will presume that whatever money or property you earn during your relationship belongs to both of you jointly. If you marry someone else later, the same rule applies.
But there are exceptions to this rule. In some states, such as California, Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana, the courts have adopted what is known” as “community property “laws.” Under those types of rules, each party owns half of everything that they earn while living together.How to Justify an Unequal Property Split in Your Divorce
Many states, including California, have no legal requirements regarding how much property must be divided during a divorce. In fact, some states even allow spouses to walk away from a marriage with very little money. But in reality, most people want to divide up their marital estate fairly—and equally.
As a practical mate, it’s usually easier to see that something is fair when each spouse walks out of the marriage with close to what they had come into it. If one person walked away with $1 million while his or her partner got $500k, it might seem like a pretty lopsided deal.
But if both parties walked away with about the same amount of money, it becomes harder to argue that one party is getting cheated. After all, don’t feel like anyone is being taken advantage of if each person leaves the marriage with about half the total value of the couple’s assets. It’s important to carefully consider whether your proposed property settlement would be equitable under the facts of your cYou’llou’ll probably need to do some research to find exactly how much each person brought into the marriage and how much each person took out of the marriage.
You could also use online calculators to estimate how much each person would receive based on whether you’ve been married, the length of the marriage, and the current values of your assets.
Once you know how much each person brings into the marriage versus how much each person takes out of the marriage, you can start calculating how much each person deserves. For example, if you bring in $100k per month and take out $40k per month, that means you deserve $60k per month. If you bring in $200k per month and take home $80k per month, you deserve $120k per month.