The marital home, vacation homes, and other real property that spouses own are likely some of their most valuable possessions. Some real property can hold sentimental value as irreplaceable memories may have been created there. But when couples go through a divorce, these assets can be subject to division. Emotional attachments to real property can create sticking points and become a catalyst for prolonged and protracted litigation. Understanding how Connecticut law treats real property in a divorce is key to tempering expectations reaching a fair and favorable divorce settlement.
Needle|Cuda: Divorce and Family Law’s lawyers have extensive experience handling divorces that involve multiple real properties. We are experts in divorce law, and we use this knowledge to craft a legal strategy that will facilitate a positive outcome for our clients. For professional, steady representation, reach out to a Needle I Cuda divorce lawyer by calling (203) 557-9500 or by contacting us online.
Connecticut is an “Equitable Distribution” state when it comes to the division and distribution of all marital property, including real property. The law gives Connecticut judges significant discretion in dividing the marital estate in a way that is fair and equitable. This means that a divorce settlement ordered by a judge will not necessarily be a 50/50 split but instead will be crafted in a way that is fair to both spouses based on several factors the judge will consider.
When looking at those factors, it is important to understand how Connecticut looks at all property. It may not matter when it was acquired and whose name it is in as marital property. All property owned by both spouses is assumed to be marital property unless one spouse can prove that it should be treated separately. Connecticut is one of the few states in the country that takes this position, and as a result, real estate that a spouse has title to could be divided upon divorce. Similarly, real property that was acquired before the marriage could also be subject to equitable distribution at the end of a marriage.
For many couples, there will be one single real property in which they primarily reside. This is known as the marital residence. When couples get divorced, many questions can arise about what will happen to the marital home. If children are involved, additional issues can present themselves. For example, this could create the potential for uprooting them from the area they grew up in if the spouses can’t reach an out-of-court agreement. It is important to recognize that Connecticut treats the marital home like any other form of property, thereby making it divisible upon divorce.
There are several options on how the equity in a real property can be allocated in a divorce. For instance, if one spouse is interested in remaining in the marital home, they can offer to buy out the other spouse’s legal interest in the property. This agreement will need to be approved by the court, but if both spouses are on board with that arrangement, it will likely be granted. Another option is to sell the property, and each spouse will receive a portion of the proceeds minus any liabilities attached to the party. However, the sale of the marital home can be tricky as the spouses will need to agree on a purchase price.
Lastly, each spouse can retain their interest in the marital home under a joint ownership agreement. Joint ownership means exactly what it says- the spouses together will own the property. In most cases, neither spouse can unilaterally sell the property without the consent of the other. Joint ownership after divorce is uncommon as many couples do not want to continue to be tied financially to each other once the marriage has ended.
Like the marital home, vacation properties may also be subject to “Equitable Distribution” in a divorce. Vacation homes, however, do not present all the issues that surround the division of the marital home. These properties, by definition, were not the primary residence of the couple, so neither party nor the children will be uprooted if they are forced to sell. Still, it is not uncommon for spouses to have an emotional or sentimental attachment to a vacation property. What’s more, these properties may have also been passed down to one of the spouses or the couple together from a parent or family member. To be sure, even in those circumstances, the property may still be considered marital property and divided amongst the parties upon divorce.
Some couples split their time in multiple homes located in different areas. Spouses that own multiple homes will find that all their real property could be divided and distributed amongst them after divorce. Connecticut treats all real property as marital property unless one spouse can offer evidence that will convince a judge to do otherwise. It’s important to understand that a property outside of Connecticut can in some instances fall outside of the court’s reach to force a sale or a change in ownership. When this happens, the jurisdictional issue will need to be handled by legal counsel.
For high-net-worth couples, they may have homes that are in more than one state. This can result in jurisdictional issues being litigated in different states. Clearly, this can be costly and time-consuming. Considering the potential jurisdictional issues surrounding multiple homes, it is essential to file in the correct court. Experienced, knowledgeable family law attorneys can provide competent counsel regarding jurisdictional issues.
At Needle l Cuda, we are experts in all family law matters including divorce proceedings. This includes equitable distribution, jurisdictional issues, and real property valuation. Our expertise in the law is the backbone of our practice, and we steadfastly continue our pursuit of being one of the top firms in Connecticut. Our attention to detail and personal yet professional service is unmatched. Reach out to a Needle I Cuda divorce attorney today by calling (203) 557-9500 or by contacting us online.