Generally speaking, the Court is authorized to divide property (all property, real [land/buildings/houses] or personal [cars, television, couches,] etc.) and monetary accounts of any kind, including retirement accounts, acquired by either spouse during the marriage where it was acquired from a marital source. For instance, buying a home while married using funds from a savings account with savings earned during the marriage from income, generally, would result in the home being likely marital, regardless of whose name is on the title.
Much like property, the Family Court has the authority to divide marital debt. Marital debt is defined as debt that was incurred for the joint benefit of the parties regardless of whether that party is attached to the debt legally. For instance, if husband buys groceries, while married, weekly by way of credit card, and at the time of the divorce the credit card has a $10,000.00 debt, it most likely will be subject to allocation between the parties, even if the credit card is solely in husband’s name.
Determining which property and debts should be divided, and how they should be divided can be a very complicated matter. You must determine what is marital and what is non-marital. Sometimes it is hard to tell. In the event something is marital, you must determine what percentage one party is to get over the other, as it relates to property, and as it relates to debt, which party should be responsible for which portion. The more assets and debts, the more complicated the case is.
Some of the more complex potential issues in dividing assets and debts is coming up with a proper valuation. It is sometimes difficult to know what the value is of a small business. Our office often must work with experts to determine a value. In dealing with real estate, we often deal with appraisers. Likewise, a person engaged in a divorce may find themselves faced with coming up with a proper valuation of retirement accounts, stocks, annuities, etc. Again, sometimes an expert is necessary. Once a value of a particular asset (or debt) is determined, next often there must be a determination of which portion is marital or non-marital. These issues can become rather complex, and not taking them seriously, may cost one a great deal of money.
The Court weighs many factors in determining what is marital and non-marital, along with how marital property/debt should be apportioned.
If you have questions about property division or debt division, or family law, call the Spartanburg family law lawyers at Holland & Usry toll free at 888-230-1841 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.