Property division and spousal responsibility are two of the most pressing matters in any divorce proceeding. Often, both parties arrive at the negotiating table with their own goals and objectives of what they want to get out of the divorce.
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But what responsibilities do you have during divorce? How will your joint marital property be divided if you can’t agree? Here are four of the most frequently asked questions about property division and spousal responsibility with insightful answers to give you a better understanding of the divorce process.
What property is treated as “marital property” and what is considered “separate property”?
Unless you can explicitly prove that you owned the property prior to the commencement of the marriage, all property is treated as marital property. The only other exceptions will come from inherited property and property which your spouse gave you as a gift.
This means that if your spouse bought you a new car for your birthday, and you can prove it was a gift, this car can be considered part of your separate property. Similarly, if your spouse already owned an apartment before you met them, this is their separate property.
How will our property be divided during divorce proceedings?
How your marital property is divided will depend on your state. Some states divide marital property equally between the two parties.
Others will divide the property depending on each party’s income, the custodial arrangement of the children, and any contributions one spouse has made to the other’s education and career.
Any debts are divided in the same way as property. Each party is obligated to pay half the marital debts, regardless of who is named as the debtor. Courts can make exceptions in situations of unfair debt. But generally, any debts accumulated during the marriage, by either spouse, are split evenly between the two parties.
Is spousal support automatically granted?
You are not automatically legally obligated to pay alimony. It will be up to your spouse to demonstrate that they require your support. This might be because they are unable to work, has had their earning ability impacted by sacrifices made during the marriage, or need to complete an education before entering the workforce.
In some cases, a court will also award spousal support for rehabilitative purposes. If you harmed your spouse physically or emotionally during the course of the marriage, you may have to pay alimony for a period of time.
How much child support am I obligated to pay?
Each individual state has set guidelines regarding child support. The amount you will be required to pay for each child will be calculated based on both your and your spouse’s income.
You can pay more than the designated amount should you wish to. But you cannot pay less.
Getting a divorce is complex. It requires an intricate understanding of the law and how it applies in your state. Don’t go into it without a competent attorney that specialises in divorce to protect your interests in the family courts.