In a divorce, one of the biggest decisions is the division of assets and debt. Many couples struggle to come to an agreement outside of court.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on all factors of the property division, then a judge will decide for you according to the law. And the rules are fairly specific as to what the judge must take into consideration.
The separate and marital property
The judge will first have to make determinations on each asset and debt on whether it is separate property that only belongs to one of you or if it is martial property of which you both have equal ownership. The judge may ask for documentation on purchases and upkeep for some assets. He or she may require an examination by a forensic accountant into some assets or debts. The judge will work diligently to ensure fairness but also adherence to the law when assigning ownership.
The length of the marriage
The judge will also consider how long your marriage lasted. Longer marriages will be more complex because as time goes on, it will become more difficult to separate out property ownership to just one spouse. In addition, the amount of assets is usually higher than with a shorter marriage.
The economic circumstances
Once the judge has categorized all assets and debts, he or she will look into your financial situation. The goal is to find a fair division of property. If one of you has more separate property than the other or a much better-paying job, then that person may receive fewer assets in the process.