In most divorces, couples will have to divide property and debts. The general rules are that family courts will divide a couple’s marital property—meaning property they acquired during the marriage. This would include assets such as real estate, bank accounts, and so forth. How a court goes about doing this depends on whether you live in an “equitable distribution” state or a “community property” state.
Most states follow the principle of equitable distribution. This means that the court will divide the marital property between you and your spouse based on the facts of your case. Whatever the judge feels it’s fair in your particular set of circumstances will determine how the judge distributes the property—it’s not guaranteed that each spouse will get an equal amount.
In a community property state, the court will divide all marital assets on a 50-50 basis, unless there is some reason to deviate from this standard rule.
Divorce is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be an all-out battle that costs both of you a fortune in lawyers’ fees. Mediation and collaborative divorce are two ways divorcing couples can make decisions together about property, support, and child custody without breaking the bank. Learn more about these ways to divorce before going any further.