Dividing up marital assets and debts during a divorce can cause significant stress. Whether your marriage is inundated in debt that you weren't aware of, or there are assets that need to be divided up fairly, a divorce attorney is a vital component to the process. You might want to file for bankruptcy after the divorce is final, while your spouse doesn't want to. You might have assets that you owned prior to the marriage that your ex is trying to take a portion of. A divorce attorney will know how to delineate what is marital property and what is separate property in an effort to allow you to keep what is yours and split up what is marital property.
Separate Property During a Divorce
Separate property is anything that you owned prior to your marriage or anything that was given to you that you did not share with your spouse. If you had an expensive coin collection you brought into the marriage, this is separate property that is yours to keep. If you bought any additional coins during the course of the marriage, anything you purchased with marital funds may be subject to division. If you receive an inheritance before or during your marriage, you get to keep your inheritance if it was kept in a separate bank account.
Marital Property and Division
Marital property is assets or debt that you both acquired during the course of the marriage. This can be debt associated with a foreclosure or home equity that has built up over the years. If one partner put money into a 401K retirement account while the other was a stay at home parent, the retirement account is divided in a way that is equitable or even, depending on which state you live in. If there are debts you both built up and you are going to file for bankruptcy, you can ask for certain debts to be assigned to you in an effort to minimize your losses later.
Your marital assets and debt are divided up based on whether you are in an equitable distribution state or community property state. Equitable distribution states divide up marital property into what is fair, while community property states divide everything in half. It's important to work with a divorce lawyer during this process so that all assets and debts are accounted for and you get your fair share of the assets involved.