You may not have young children. Your incomes and finances may eliminate the need for alimony. In Connecticut, however, if you are getting a divorce you must discuss how to divide your property. This means everything. The collection handed down through your family for several generations, frequent flyer miles, cars, the family business, everything.
Debts as well – dividing marital property means involves splitting assets and debts. Connecticut law requires that the division is “equitable” but provides little in the way of hard and fast rules about who should get what.
Here’s what you need to know about property division.
Connecticut is an “equitable distribution” state. In other words, Connecticut courts look to split assets and debts in a way that puts each of the divorcing spouses on roughly equal footing. This, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the assets and debts will are split exactly equally. The court needs to consider a variety of factors, past, present, and future in making its decision. Those considerations may well include:
- How long were the you married?
- Children? How many? How old? What are their educational, health, financial, special needs? Who will they live with?
- Income or incomes of the spouses?
- What is the earning potential of each spouse post-marriage?
- Did one spouse stay home to raise the kids?
All these elements play a role in how property is divided and, potentially, much more. Think about your situation, odds are you’ve already thinking about something not on this list. Odds are even greater the court will think of it, too.
Everything is up for grabs (almost). Equitable distribution states usually consider property in the name of one spouse as belonging to that spouse. That is not necessarily the norm in Connecticut. Our courts are not as interested in who has the title to the house, car, retirement account, or credit card as other equitable states as ‘what is fair.’
Connecticut also doesn’t distinguish between property owned before marriage and property acquired after tying the knot. If you and/or your spouse owns something and it’s not covered by a prenuptial agreement, it’s probably on the table.
Property Division Agreements
Thankfully, most Connecticut divorces never go to trial. Divorcing couples, instead, work out how to split marital property along with their lawyers, and, sometimes, with the help of professionals like mediators, appraisers or accountants. Connecticut courts provide plenty of leeway to create an agreement that works for you, as long as it is equitable.
We realize that almost everything we’ve written above may have created more questions than answers. We can probably accurately describe the equitable distribution of property as more art than science. It’s hard to fully describe an art form. If the list above left you with more questions than answers, you’re not alone.
Property division can lead to complex discussions on subjects as wide ranging as taxes, business succession, estate planning and home ownership. It can get very complicated, very quickly. Experienced family law attorneys know how to navigate these complications to allow you to fairly divide property in a way that supports your plans and goals for the future.