How Connecticut Handles Property Division

by McConnell Family Law

There are many difficult decisions to make when a marriage ends. For many divorcing couples, figuring out how to fairly divide property is a major obstacle. Understanding how Connecticut law approaches the topic of property division can prepare you for this stage of your divorce.

If you’re currently going through a divorce in Connecticut and are faced with the challenge of property division, understanding how the state handles this process is crucial. At McConnell Family Law, our experienced Connecticut divorce lawyers are here to guide you through the intricacies of property division. With our in-depth knowledge of Connecticut law, we can help you navigate the factors that influence equitable distribution. We understand that this stage can be emotionally challenging; our team is dedicated to providing compassionate legal representation and ensuring your rights and interests are protected. Contact us today at (203) 541-5520 to schedule a consultation and let us help you achieve a fair outcome in your property division.

Equitable Division of Assets

In Connecticut, courts aim for an equitable distribution of assets. Note that equitable is not the same as equal. For example, if one partner has acquired significantly more during the course of the marriage or one partner has a much greater earning potential than the other, the court might adjust the distribution of assets to ensure that both parties can maintain a similar quality of life. Some of the factors that affect the equitable distribution of assets include:

  • Cause of the divorce
  • Length of the marriage
  • Each partner’s age, health, occupation, and employability
  • Each party’s source and amount of income
  • The size of each partner’s estate
  • The liabilities and needs of each party

Marital vs. Separate Property

Generally, Connecticut law separates each individual’s property from the marital property. Separate property refers to the assets that a partner had before they entered the marriage, while marital assets are those acquired during the course of the marriage. This is not set in stone. In order to divide assets equitably, the court might divide separate property between spouses. Separate property could become marital property during the marriage if the other party contributes to it or preserves its value.

Assigning Value to Assets

During the division of property, spouses have a chance to agree on the monetary value of the assets being divided. In the likely event that the parties cannot agree on the value of their assets, the court may require them to get a financial valuation of any contested items. Once items have been evaluated by an expert using fair market value analysis, the property can be fairly divided. Some assets that can be difficult to assess include antiques, family heirlooms, and items from niche hobbies.

Division of Property in Connecticut
Division of Property in Connecticut

The Marital Home

Perhaps the most highly contested asset in most divorces is the marital home. Whether one partner is insistent upon selling it and washing their hands of the situation or both partners want sole rights to the home, this is often a contentious decision. After figuring out the amount of equity in the home, the divorcing couple can decide to sell the home and divide the money from the sale, have one party buy out the other party, or keep one party in the home for a predetermined amount of time—typically until all minor children have graduated high school.

No matter what the circumstances are behind your divorce, we believe in finding peace through strength while navigating this new stage of life. Contact McConnell Family Law at (203) 541-5520 to discuss your family law needs.

Definition Examples
Separate Property Assets owned by a partner before marriage Real estate, investments, savings
Marital Property Assets acquired during the marriage Joint bank accounts, shared property
Conversion of Separate to Marital Property Separate property can become marital property if the other spouse contributes to it or preserves its value Renovations made to a separate property using marital funds
Valuation of Assets Parties may agree on the value or seek professional valuation Real estate appraisals, financial expert assessments
Challenging Valuation Certain assets can be difficult to assess Antiques, family heirlooms, niche hobby collections
Greenwich divorce attorney

Is Connecticut a Community Property State?

Community property laws do not apply in Connecticut, which implies that marital property is not automatically divided equally (50/50) between spouses during a divorce. 

Instead, Connecticut adopts the principle of equitable distribution. In equitable distribution, the court examines several factors to determine a fair and equitable division of marital property. These factors include the duration of the marriage, the reasons for the divorce, the age and health of each spouse, their current income, employment status, and employability, as well as their assets, liabilities, and ability to generate income and be financially independent. The court also considers the contributions made by each spouse towards acquiring, preserving, or appreciating marital assets. Factors such as economic misconduct by one spouse may also be taken into consideration.

In practical application, judges that follow equitable distribution commonly allocate around two-thirds of the marital assets to the spouse with higher earnings, while assigning one-third to the spouse with lower earnings.

Having a lawyer by your side can be crucial when navigating the complexities of divorce and property division in Connecticut. At McConnell Family Law Group, our Connecticut divorce lawyers can negotiate on your behalf during settlement discussions, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected. Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with us today to ensure that you achieve the best outcome possible in your specific circumstances. Contact McConnell Family Law at (203) 541-5520 to discuss your family law needs.

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