Dividing marital property can be complex and triggering for parties. A knowledgeable family attorney can ensure you are protected and have accurate expectations.

A Milford property division lawyer has the skills and experience to help you meet your goals regarding property division. With their help, you can leave your marriage in the best attainable financial position.

Defining Marital Assets

Connecticut defines marital assets more broadly than most other states. Marital property includes anything either spouse owns at the separation date, regardless of whose name is on the title or deed. Anything the parties owned before marriage counts as marital property subject to division if they still own it when the couple separates. Marital property also includes an asset’s appreciation in value during the marriage.

Marital property may consist of real estate, including the family home, vacation homes, investment properties, and other holdings, regardless of how they are titled. Furnishings, collections, and vehicles are marital property regardless of who paid for them. Bank accounts, retirement funds, pensions, business interests, investment vehicles, inheritances, and interests in trusts all can be marital property.

A valid prenuptial agreement may exclude certain assets from the marital property umbrella. If a couple has no valid prenuptial agreement, they must divide all their marital property equitably when they divorce. An equitable division requires both parties to disclose all their assets and liabilities. A Milford lawyer will retain valuation experts as needed to ensure a spouse meets their disclosure requirements, and the opposing parties’ disclosure is accurate.

Retaining Control of the Asset Division Process

Courts strongly prefer couples negotiate an appropriate settlement rather than forcing a judge to decide. Reaching a property division agreement benefits the couple in multiple ways.

Developing a property division agreement outside of court allows each spouse to keep any property of special value to them, like an inherited piece of jewelry, a pet, or an interest in a business, while making comparable value compromises. A negotiated agreement is more private, which can be an important issue for some couples. Most importantly, spouses retain control when they handle property division themselves.

Many Milford couples have their attorneys represent them in negotiations to reach a property division agreement. Other couples engage in mediation. Whatever process might work is worth trying because if the spouses cannot agree, a judge hears evidence about their financial situation at a trial and makes the final decision.

How Judges Divide Marital Property

If a couple cannot agree on property division issues, a court must decide. Although Connecticut is an all property state for identifying marital property, it is not a community property state. The court divides marital assets according to equitable distribution. Equitable distribution means the split must be fair but does not need to be 50/50.

Connecticut General Statutes § 46(b)-81(c) describes the factors a court must consider when deciding on an equitable distribution of marital property, including the following:

  • How long the couple were married
  • The reasons the marriage ended
  • Each spouse’s age and health
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity based on their education, skills, and work history
  • The value of each spouse’s personal property
  • The likelihood and capacity of each spouse to increase the value of their personal property
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the acquisition and maintenance of the marital property during the marriage

A judge has broad discretion to weigh each of these factors in the manner that seems appropriate under the circumstances.

Fault plays a role in property division. If one party’s conduct was the primary reason for the couple’s decision to dissolve the marriage, the court might award the other party a larger share of marital property. A judge will likely award one spouse a disproportionate share if one spouse wasted or dissipated marital assets. A lawyer in Milford is ready to guide you through this process and help you retain the assets you deserve.

Rely on a Milford Property Division Attorney

Although couples benefit from deciding on property division themselves, it is unwise to do so without the counsel of an experienced attorney. A legal professional can help the couple verify disclosures and establish that a division is equitable. Allow a Milford property division lawyer to help you with this aspect of your divorce. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Connecticut Family Lawyer | CT Family Law | Dolan Family Attorneys N/a
60 S Broad Street #2G Milford CT 06460 (203) 902-5142