Guaranteeing Fair Property Division in Divorce

Aug 8, 2012 by

Divorce is never easy. But it’s an even more stressful process when the parties involved struggle to reach a fair compromise on property division. Fortunately, there are steps everyone involved in a divorce proceeding can take to divide their property so that everyone is satisfied.

The key is for couples to decide early in the process to work together to divide their assets in a way that is fair to everyone. This can take much of the unnecessary stress out of a divorce proceeding.

Before this can happen, though, spouses have to make a key decision: Will they divide property equally or equitably? There is a big difference between the two.

In equal distribution, spouses each get half of the earnings — and everything acquired by those earnings — generated during the marriage. Spouses also keep any inheritance, gifts or personal injury rewards that were given specifically to them.

An equitable distribution of property works differently. In such cases, assets are divided not equally, but fairly. For example, the spouse who earned higher wages during the marriage may get two-thirds of the assets, while the remaining third is given to the other spouse.

There’s no one right way of handling property division. But it is important for both parties in a divorce to agree upon some form of it. If a couple can’t agree, they may have to rely on their state’s court to make the decision for them. This almost always leads to a less satisfying resolution.

That’s because courts have to follow their own state rules when officiating divorce cases. This leaves no room for interpretation.

Many divorcing couples choose to work with a collaborative divorce attorney to help them reach compromise agreements on such complicated issues as property division. Couples with children often struggle over child custody matters. But property division can be an equally complicated decision.

Unlike traditional divorce attorneys, collaborative attorneys work with both parties. The goal is work together to make the divorce process run as smoothly as possible. The collaborative attorney’s job is to take the emotions out of the process.

It is in couples’ best interests to find some way, whether that entails working with a collaborative divorce attorney or not, to fairly divide their assets. A divorce proceeding can never be truly pleasant, of course. But couples can ease the stress by handling property division in a way in which both parties feel as if they were treated fairly.

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