Divorce Guide

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Property Divorce Settlement


A property divorce settlement agreement is a written contract between both the parties. It lists the division of the marital property and financial obligations between the couple. A property settlement agreement covers property division only, and not child custody, child support or spousal support. It may cover issues such as who will live in the family home, how personal property will be divided, who will keep the vehicles that were jointly owned etc. Marital agreements, which include property settlements, can be very complicated particularly with the marriages that are dissolved after many years.

Community Property

In community property states, the property acquired during the tenure of marriage is divided equally between the couple such as

  • The household items, like furniture and kitchen appliances
  • The cash in joint savings account in the bank
  • The life insurance policies and the money invested
  • All the retirement and pension benefits

    If the parties possess any property before their marriage or if they receive any asset in the form of a gift then it is considered to be a separate property.

    Equitable Divorce Settlement Distribution

    There are some states which divide property based on equitable distribution. They take into consideration several things while dividing the property in a divorce settlement, such as:

    • How the divorce will economically affect each party
    • Infidelity of one or both spouses
    • Contributions of homemakers
    • Which parent children will live with
    • Future expenses related to educating children
    • Past and future medical expenses
    • Well being of each party, including age and health status
    • Past and future wages from employment.

    Law regarding property distribution

    The uniform Marriage and Divorce Act (UMDA) which has been in practice in eight states, guides the couple and the courts on what to consider when distributing property. There are two provisions with the UMDA that deal specifically with the disposition of the couple’s property. One provision states that the property should be fairly divided between the parties without regard to marital misconduct. While dividing the property in a property divorce settlement, the UMDA Act also considers some factors such as, the duration of the marriage, prior marriage of either party, age, health, occupation and sources of income.

    The other option that the UMDA has outlines a slightly different scheme of how property should be divided. The factors to be considered when making a division of the community property include the contribution of each spouse to acquire the marital property, and a spouse’s contribution as a homemaker.

    Many different things could happen to property in a divorce settlement. The terms of a divorce settlement varies depending on the state you live. So it is important to know the rules and regulations of the state where the settlement is being fought.


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