How to Divide Up a Property During a Divorce

When it comes to filing for a divorce, most people don’t realize how this action will affect their assets or property. In some cases, one or both people involved in the divorce have no idea what kind of property they own or how it should be divided between them. In this respect, it is important to have someone to provide you with legal help with family law matters so that you avoid making any mistakes during a divorce and possibly lose some of the assets that are yours to own.

Photo of lovely home during summer
Divorce is difficult under every condition but selling a long-held family home makes it even more so.

Today, we’ll be talking about property and how you should divide it, as well as about the factors and aspects related to a divorce that influence this division of property.

Types of Divorce

Divorces are most often one-sided. There are options for those who wish to solve matters in a different way. In this respect, we will showcase the two main types of divorce, as well as a third type that falls in between the other two.

1. Uncontested Divorce

Obviously, an uncontested divorce means that both parties are in agreement.  They agree with the divorce and will file the papers with the court. No formal trial is typically implied in this type of scenario.

Most people prefer this type of divorce as it is much less expensive than its counterpart.  An uncontested divorce will save all parties time, legal fees and court costs. In most cases, it will also have less stress and drama.

2. Contested Divorce

The usual type of divorce, especially when high-valued properties and assets are at stake, is the contested divorce.  This implies a disagreement between the two parties. The soon-to-be-former couple may have issues over areas such as children, property, and spousal support which will have to be settled in court. As you might expect, a contested divorce can be costly, quite long, and potentially contentious. For this reason, only 5 percent of divorces are estimated to be settled in court.

3. In-Between

As mentioned, there are other types of divorce as well, types that usually involve collaborative options, mediation, and arbitration. In such cases, the couple will be independently represented by certain counsel but will avoid the full costs that would come with a trial.

Types of Property

Obviously, your property must be a certain type in order for both parties to be able to claim a part of it. You know very well that one of the most important questions in a divorce is:

“Who gets the house?”

In order to find out the answer, you will have to take a look at the state law which divides properties into community property or separate property.

  • Separate Property – this type of property belongs to only one of the parties. It is usually represented by something they have owned before the marriage, something that has been gifted to them, or something they’ve inherited. 
  • Community Property – community property refers to everything that a couple has acquired or earned during a marriage. If your house has been bought with a combination of community and separate funds, it is still considered community property.

Selling a home can sometimes be quite difficult. Having additional outside factors, such as a divorce, will make it even more so. That’s why it is always smart to surround yourself with professionals who can guide in you the right direction.

How to divide up property during a divorce?

If you want to divide your property yourselves, you can do so. Follow these steps to move forward through the process. If there are disagreements between the parties, you should hire a lawyer.

  1. List your Belongings
    Start by making a list of the items that you both own. In such cases, you will be able to omit items that your spouse really wants or to which they have a certain personal or emotional attachment.
  2. Valuing the Property
    If you own expensive items, try to figure out which of them will be taken into account when dividing your assets.  For example, both of you can agree that anything valued at more than $500 will be divided between you. Naturally, when it comes to a business or property that’s too difficult to value, you should rely on outside authority for its valuation.
  3. Decide the Logical Owner
    Analyze the item list you have previously made, decide which items should go to either of you, as well as the reasons behind the decision. It is better to start with the most expensive items so that you rule out any disagreements from the beginning.
  4. Approval
    Naturally, if both of you agree with the way you have divided the property, you still have to get the court’s approval. The court will most likely approve your decision if you both are in agreement. However, if one of the parties has agreed to take a lot less than at least half of the property, and doesn’t have a lawyer, the court will probably not agree with your decision.

Concluding Remarks

Even though you can save some money by dividing the property yourselves, it is still highly recommended that you employ an attorney to help you with such matters. After all, you don’t want to regret giving anything up to your spouse after you complete the divorce.

A professional divorce attorney will help you make the best decisions. This is what they are paid to do. If you need to divide up property during a divorce, hiring an attorney makes a lot of sense.