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Dividing assets during divorce? Here's all you need to know

Dividing assets or properties is a big issue during a divorce.

Bill and Melinda Gates are divorced

Divorce, or "dissolution of marriage," is the legal termination of the marital relationship.

The purpose of a divorce is to terminate the parties’ marriage. In order to do that the parties and the court must decide how to handle the questions of custody and placement of the minor children and how to divide the property and debts of the parties.

Divorce comes in types - uncontested divorce and contested divorce.

In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on all the terms of the divorce and file the papers with the court. There is usually no formal trial in this scenario. An uncontested divorce can be much less expensive than a contested divorce, saving you time, court costs and legal fees, as well as helping you avoid protracted disputes with your spouse.

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Contested divorces are what stereotypically come to mind when we think of divorce. These are cases in which there’s a lot of disagreement over key areas such as property, children and spousal support. Each spouse is represented by an attorney, and a judge oversees the case until settlement. This type of divorce can be long, costly and potentially contentious.

The divorce process involves many considerations, including the division of assets. It is essential to review all available options thoroughly when dividing assets and to ensure that each spouse’s rights are protected during the proceedings.

Every country has its laws and what works there. The factors considered by courts vary from state to state. Some common factors include:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Income and property of each spouse when they married
  • Income and property of each spouse when they filed for divorce
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • If the divorcing couple has minor children together, there's the need for a custodial parent to retain the marital residence.
  • Value of benefits that a spouse may lose due to the divorce (such as health insurance)
  • Any loss of inheritance or pension rights of either spouse as a result of the divorce
  • Any award of spousal support or child support the court will be making
  • The degree of liquidity of marital property
  • Tax consequences of the distribution
  • The wastefulness of either spouse
  • The future financial circumstances of each spouse
  • Any other factor relevant to fairness

It’s important to note that the division of property doesn't necessarily mean everything gets physically divided up equally. Instead, the court may grant each spouse a percentage of the property's total value.

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