The marital assets and liabilites, such as the automobile, boats, real estate, debt, brokerage accounts, jewelry and debt associated with those assets, are to be distributed between the husband and wife equitably and initially with the presumption that such distribution will be equal (50/50). However, there can be unequal distribution of the assets and liabilities under certain circumstances. Additionally, there may be non marital assets and liabilities which must be identified and presented to the Judge to initially be set aside.
The parties will present their sworn financial affidavits to the Court. The information contained in their affidavits may or may not be sufficient for the Judge to determine how the bills and assets will be divided. Frequently parties to the divorce proceeding are not familiar with the value of their own assets, whether the asset is an auto, home or other type of personal property. Date of valuation of the assets and liabilities is also of importance.
Parties may or may not have commingled monies which otherwise would be separate from the marital estate to be distributed. Often there is a business that needs to be evaluated and divided, whether it be a small “mom and pop” business or a professional practice. However, generally speaking marital property and liabilities are properties acquired and debts incurred during the course of the marriage.
If the marital residence is the sole asset, one party may want to keep the home but it could be unfair to distribute that item only to the husband or wife. Further, it is very possible that neither party will want to receive the home due to the home having little to no equity and the main issue can be sorting out how to distribute this item.
Many issues can arise in this area of the law. It is very important that your lawyer be experienced and practice regularly in this area so that you can be fully advised and receive your fair share of the marital estate, and not be short changed.