The division of marital property is one of the greatest challenges divorcing couples must face. Figuring out which property you get to keep and what will go to your spouse can be very stressful and even confusing. Many people believe that all assets and debts will be divided equally; however, this is often not the case. In Connecticut, courts apply the “equitable distribution” method of property division. Rather than splitting everything evenly, courts will attempt to divide the couple’s property fairly, even if it is not strictly equal.
Equitable Distribution is Meant to be Fair, not Equal
The goal of equitable distribution is to ensure that each spouse walks away from the marriage with his or her fair share of the marital estate. A 50/50 property split is not required for this method of property division. When dividing property, a judge will do his or her best to make sure there is a fair distribution of assets. For example, if a couple owns two vehicles, the court will likely award one vehicle to each spouse.
In Connecticut, family law courts have broad authority to award property to either spouse in a divorce, regardless of how it is titled, when it was acquired, or whether it was received as a gift or an inheritance. All property is considered marital property, which means that everything the couple owns is fair game when it comes to dividing things up during the divorce. For this reason, it is imperative to have an experienced family law attorney who can advocate for your interests in court and ensure you receive a fair distribution of assets.
Relevant Factors for the Equitable Distribution of Property
Connecticut courts must consider a number of factors when deciding which assets and debts to allocate to either spouse. These factors are set forth in Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-81, and are further interpreted by relevant case law. Courts are not required to place equal weight on each factor, and may place greater significance on any particular factor in a given case. The relevant factors are:
- the length of the marriage;
- the causes for the break-up of the marriage;
- the age and health of the parties;
- the station of the parties;
- the occupation, vocational skills, employability, and income of the parties;
- the estates of the parties;
- the liabilities and needs of the parties;
- opportunity for future acquisition of assets and income; and
- the contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation or appreciation of assets.
When going through a divorce, each spouse can expect to get some, but not all, of what they want from the Court. The best way to make sure you are awarded a fair distribution of property is to have an attorney advocating for your interests. To learn more about the laws concerning asset and debt division and to find out what to expect in your own case, contact our office now for an initial consultation with a family law attorney.
In Connecticut, the attorneys at McConnell Family Law Group are here to help you resolve all of your family law issues and concerns. To schedule your appointment and learn more about your options, contact us today by calling one of our offices located in Hartford (860) 266-1166, Stamford (203) 539-6221, and New Canaan (203) 344-7007.