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What you need to know about the 4 step property division process

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2023 | Property Division

Some issues, such as child support, only apply to some divorcing couples. However, property division comes up in almost all divorce cases. That is because nearly all married individuals have acquired property together. Sometimes, a divorcing couple’s assets are easily divided. Others are more tricky.

Either way, the court must employ the same four steps to divide the property.

1. Identify

The first step is to identify all properties. The divorcing couple must create a list of all their assets and debts.

2. Classify

Next, the court will classify everything. That means the court will deem all identified assets marital or separate. Most things acquired during the marriage are “marital” property. Anything from before is “separate” and goes to the rightful owner and taxpayer.

There are specific nuances and exceptions regarding what the court considers separate and marital property. Check the laws and regulations at the local court to get a better idea of how the court will classify all pieces of property.

3. Value

The property is then valued. The court provides each asset with a fair value on the separation date. The valuation process can determine whether encumbrances are necessary.

4. Distribute

Finally, the court distributes the property. Generally, the court distributes marital property equally, although there are circumstances that one of the spouses can use to have an unequal distribution considered.

These steps will always be in play and make the process seem straightforward. However, the property can sometimes be difficult to classify or value, making this process more complex.