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Asset Division – CT

Division of Marital Assets In Connecticut

Westport Divorce Attorneys develop strategies for the “Equitable Distribution” of Marital Property and Assets in Connecticut Divorce

Unwinding the financial ties that exist between divorcing spouses can be a complicated and difficult process. Whether property division issues are being resolved through negotiation or in court, skillful legal guidance is critical to protecting your interests as you move forward with your life. Needle | Cuda in Westport has years of experience advising clients on Connecticut’s equitable distribution law and how it applies to their situation. Whether the allocation of assets and debts is straightforward or complex, our experienced advocates work to achieve a favorable resolution for each of their clients.

Westport Divorce Lawyers Outline the difference between Martial Property and Separate Property in Connecticut Divorce

Division of Marital PropertyThe first step to understanding how a divorce will affect you and your family financially is to understand what property is actually considered to be included within the marital estate. With decades of combined experience, our attorneys will deliver detailed explanations of:

Marital property — With very few exceptions, wealth and property accumulated during the marriage become part of the marital estate and subject to equitable distribution when the divorce is finalized. This is true no matter which spouse earned or acquired the assets that comprise the marital estate. One of the reasons for this equitable approach is because Connecticut recognizes the non-monetary contribution of a stay at home spouse.

Separate property — Property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage is still considered part of the marital estate in Connecticut so that the Court has the jurisdiction to make orders related to this property. However, one factor the Court considers when determining what is equitable, is how an asset became part of the marital estate. This might also apply to gifts or inheritances left to one spouse during the course of the marriage. As a result of the Connecticut property statute, these assets may be treated differently than assets accumulated during the marriage.

Effect of prenuptial agreements — A valid prenuptial agreement significantly alters how assets are divided in divorce. Whether you are seeking to enforce or challenge a prenuptial agreement  we are experienced in assessing if a claim might exist that the prenuptial agreement is invalid or enforceable, based on Connecticut law.

Valuing assets can be complex, especially when calculating business worth, investment potential and tax implications of transfer. When necessary, we bring in forensic accountants, to assist in the evaluation process.

Connecticut Divorce Lawyers Highlight the Statutory Factors CT Family Court Applies in the Distribution of Marital Assets and Property

If a property division agreement cannot be negotiated between the parties, our family law attorneys will present a comprehensive case to support a favorable decision under the state’s equitable distribution standards. This means that a court issues an order based on what the judge thinks is fair or equitable and  this does not necessarily translate to an equal or 50-50 split of assets. Factors that can be used in the determination of equitable distribution include:

  • Marriage duration — Longer marriages lead to increased financial interdependence. Spouses who did not work outside the home for many years might be awarded a greater share of marital assets to help them adjust to their new situation.
  • Causes of the divorce — Although Connecticut is a “no fault” divorce state, the reasons the marriage failed is a factor the Court may consider in determining what is equitable.
  • Earning capacity, employability and station — Courts examine each spouse’s earning ability and lifestyle to evaluate if they can maintain their manner of living after the divorce.
  • Each party’s contribution to the acquisition, preservation and appreciation in value of assets — While Connecticut recognizes the non-monetary contribution of a stay at home spouse, the Court will still consider each party’s respective input to the marital estate.

Our high-touch approach to family law representation gives clients the support they need to make compelling arguments relating to these and other equitable distribution factors.

Westport Divorce Attorneys skillfully manage complex allocation of Debt in Property and Asset Division in CT Divorce

Allocating debt after a divorce can create a great deal of financial and emotional stress. Even in high-achieving families, obligations relating to education loans, taxes, real estate and business ventures can place significant burdens on the parties. We will look at debt accumulated before and during the marriage to help avoid any unfair burden once the marriage is dissolved. Should a mortgage still exist on the marital home, our lawyers can suggest creative ways to manage situations where one party remains in the home to raise the family’s children or maintain their lifestyle.

Contact our knowledgeable Connecticut divorce lawyers for assistance with complex asset and property division

Needle | Cuda represents clients in Fairfield County and throughout Connecticut in asset division disputes and a full range of matters associated with divorce. Please call 203-557-9500 or contact us online to make an appointment for a meeting at our Westport office.

Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) about asset and property division in Connecticut divorce

Equitable property division is the "fair" distribution of property owned by both spouses—either marital or separate—in the event of a divorce as determined by the court. The critical term is fair concerning equitable property division proceedings. As discussed above, what the court deems "fair" in equitable property division is rarely equal. Connecticut is an all-property state, meaning that all types of property are considered when the court makes its findings. It is important to know the difference between the types of property to be divided.

While a divorce decree could result in a 50/50 split on all marital property, in practice, that rarely happens. In Connecticut, equitable distribution means that the court will consider various factors when they decide how the marital property will be divided. This could result in one spouse receiving the lion's share of the property to balance an inequity in earning power or to provide a financially dependent spouse with the means to become self-sufficient.

Separate property is any property owned solely by one spouse, such as property acquired before the marriage, gifts, or inheritances.  In most equitable division jurisdictions, separate property would be excluded from the court's distribution discretion because property established to belong to one person should remain with that person. However, because Connecticut is an all-property state for the purposes of divorce, even the property which has been proven to be owned or under the control of only one spouse is still subject to distribution. This includes exotic property like art, cars, and other unique or custom items.

Marital property is property obtained by either party while married. This property can include items like cars, houses, or other financial assets acquired while you and your spouse are married. Even assets like retirement funds can be distributed in divorce to the extent that those funds were added to the account while married.

It is unlikely that any spouse will be left without any interest in their 401k at divorce. But because retirement accounts are eligible for "Equitable Distribution" in a divorce, it is possible that a spouse could be forced to part with a portion.

Through the discovery process, your lawyer can demand that your spouse provide all relevant financial information. This may include whether they have a retirement account and which institution services it. Spouses that seek to hide assets may be sanctioned by the court.

For a prenup to be valid in Connecticut, it must meet several requirements. The judge handling your divorce will be responsible for determining the validity of a prenup. However, the divorce attorneys at Needle I Cuda know the law surrounding prenups and will be your best resource in evaluating the potential validity of any prenuptial agreement.

The law in Connecticut does not favor either spouse. A judge deciding who gets the house is bound to follow the law. They are not permitted to favor either spouse when determining what is equitable. Still, a spouse that was the primary caretaker for the children during the marriage can argue that when considering all of the factors, they should remain in the marital home. Spouses must remember that that will not be the only factor considered by the court.

The court may award the marital home to the spouse that is awarded primary physical custody. Still, primary custody is defined as having the children more than 50% of the time. In other words, having primary custody is different from sole physical custody, which would mean one spouse has the children all of the time. In a sole physical custody situation, the spouse caring for the children full-time may be likely to get to remain in the marital home.

Yes, but not unless an order from the court has been obtained or you and your spouse agree that it is best to sell the home--and the sale of your house is incorporated into your final (court ordered) divorce decree. Clearly, before agreeing as impactful as this, you will want to consult with a divorce attorney before any agreement is finalized. Issues surrounding taxes, title, the mortgage, possible liens, and how the proceeds of the sale will be allocated will need to be sorted before a sale is effectuated.

It depends. In short, all property, no matter when it was acquired and by whom, can be divided and distributed upon divorce in Connecticut. This can potentially include a property one spouse owned in full before the marriage. While you may be permitted to argue that certain property should be excluded from the marital estate, the law in Connecticut does allow for equitable distribution of all property of both spouses.

Who will get the marital home after the divorce depends on several factors. If there is an agreement between the spouses on what will happen to the marital home, then that likely will be the result. For divorces where there is no agreement, a judge will decide based on the "Equitable Distribution" factors that must be considered by statute . If there are children involved who are currently living in the home, that may also have a bearing on who will get the home.

While it is rare that a spouse will lose all interest in a business due to a divorce, the business may need to be sold. Still, when this happens, the proceeds from the sale will be distributed between the parties. It is unlikely a business asset will be sold with only one spouse receiving all of the proceeds.

How much the business is worth can be determined through the use of business valuation experts. These professions will look at the business's data and draft reports that will tend to show what the business is worth. Another method is comparing the sale prices of similar businesses within the same industry.

Through a process known as discovery, your lawyer will be able to request all relevant information concerning the business and its financial health. Valuation experts can then analyze that info to paint a picture of the business asset's worth and projected outlook. Once a value is determined, the business asset or the value assigned to the business asset may then be distributed by the court upon divorce.

It depends.  In short, all property, no matter when it was acquired and by whom, can be divided and distributed upon divorce in Connecticut. This can potentially include a property one spouse owned in full before the marriage. While you may be permitted to argue that certain property should be excluded from the marital estate, the law in Connecticut does allow for equitable distribution of all property of both spouses.


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