Asset Division Attorney in Anderson, South Carolina
When most people get married, they don’t anticipate a divorce in their future. However, divorce continues to be quite common in the United States, with around half of all marriages ending this way. Aside from the emotional toll this takes, figuring out who gets what in a divorce can be difficult. You should consider consulting with a family law attorney.
If you’re in the Anderson, South Carolina, area, including Northlake, Liberty, Pickens, or anywhere in Greenville County, and are considering divorce or have just been served divorce papers, give us a call at the David F. Stoddard Law Firm.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property in South Carolina
One of the most important concepts to understand when filing for divorce is the difference between marital property and community (non-marital) property. Essentially, any asset that the individual acquired before the marriage is considered separate property and any asset the couple acquires together during their marriage is considered marital. This distinction is important to understand because it will affect the division of assets during your divorce.
Even if both spouses don’t contribute equally to purchasing or earning of marital assets, and even if only one spouse’s name is on the title, it will still be considered marital. In addition, property that started out as separate property can become community property if both spouses contribute equally to it during the marriage. For example, if one partner owns a home on their own before they get married, but then the couple lives in, maintains, and jointly pays the mortgage for it, it could then be considered community property.
Separate property generally refers to any assets or property that were acquired before the marriage. It can also include assets like inherited wealth or gifts and personal injury settlements that were received either before or during the marriage. Another example of separate property would be anything that was specifically named in a prenuptial agreement.
Who Determines How Assets Are Divided?
In cases where the couple can come to an agreement on the division of property, a judge will usually approve this as long as it’s deemed fairly equitable. These are typically considered uncontested divorces, and a couple only needs to document their joint decision in a marital dissolution agreement and have a judge sign off on it.
If the divorce is contested, meaning the couple cannot come to an agreement on their own, a judge will need to step in (and usually the attorneys for each spouse) to determine an equitable distribution of assets.
Factors Considered in Asset Division in South Carolina
When a judge reviews divorce documents regarding asset division, they’ll take several things into account. Overall, they’ll be trying to decide how to equitably (but not necessarily equally) divide the couple’s property. This may mean that assets aren’t divided 50/50, but rather, are split in a way where each comes away with a fair portion. For example, one spouse may be awarded the family home, while the other would receive all of the earnings from a retirement fund.
A judge will also look at how much each spouse contributed towards the assets, including non-monetary contributions such as being a stay-at-home parent or supporting a partner while they earned an education degree. They will also look at the length of the marriage, the health status of each spouse, the needs of any children, and how well the spouses will be able to support themselves after the divorce.
Asset Division Attorney Serving Anderson, SC
If you’re in the Anderson, South Carolina, area and would like to speak with an experienced family law attorney about your divorce, call me at the David F. Stoddard Law Firm.