Separating your property when you are going through a divorce often takes a bit of negotiation. If you have substantial assets, deciding who gets to keep what property may leave both parties upset and unable to come to an agreement. When you have a divorce attorney, you will know that you have someone who can negotiate to get you what you deserve. What you brought to the marriage, and what both of you earned during the course of the marriage has to be determined. If you live in a community property state, marital assets are divided in half. For equitable distribution states, marital assets are divided in a way that is considered fair to both parties.
Separate Assets and Your Divorce
If you have separate property, that is generally yours to keep when you are dividing up property in a divorce. Separate property is anything that you owned prior to the marriage, anything you inherited or were gifted during the marriage, and anything you might have bought with your own separate funds. If you inherited money, for example, you get to keep your inheritance if this money has always remained separate from your joint accounts. If you inherit $100,000 and you put $20,000 in a jointly held account, the $20,000 is subject to division in a divorce.
Marital Property to Divide
Marital property includes the things you and your spouse earned or purchased through the course of your marriage. This includes contributions to any IRA accounts, home purchases, cars, and any other valuables that were bought with money from the marriage. If you make much less than your spouse and live in an equitable distribution state, you may be able to receive more when dividing up the property to make up for your lack of earning ability.
Why an Attorney Matters
Even when you and your former spouse are amicable, trying to figure out how to divide your property can be complex. When you have an attorney, you will have someone who looks over any potential agreement before you sign it. Once you agree to how everything will be divided up, it's nearly impossible to change your mind.
When you are going through a divorce, you may not be able to think rationally. A divorce attorney is there to deal with any hurdles, and help you get the marital assets you deserve. Don't sign anything before an attorney reviews your agreement and get the support you need throughout your divorce.