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What are Marital Assets and Debts?

marital problems cause by debts

What are Marital Assets and Debts?

Marital assets and debts are items that need to be reviewed and decisions made as to how these two things will be divided between the divorcing couple. Marital assets are all property and financial assets acquired during the period of the legal marriage, while marital debts refer to all financial obligations incurred during the same period. However, there are sometimes questions about  this rule, such as assets or debts acquired before the marriage or through gift or inheritance, and if after married, they were interblended in some way. For couples going through a divorce in California, identifying out marital assets and debts and deciding how to divide these acquired valuables and financial obligations can significantly impact the outcome of the divorce settlement.

Equitable Division of Marital Assets in Divorce

Equitable division of marital assets in divorce refers to the fair and just distribution of all assets accumulated during the course of the marriage. This includes property, investments, savings accounts, retirement accounts, and any other assets deemed as marital.

It is important to note that equitable division does not mean equal division. In many cases, factors such as individual contributions to the marriage and future earning potential may be taken into consideration during the division process. Equitable recognizes that each spouse has different circumstances and allocates the resources needed to reach an fair outcome.

Pre-marital and Separate Property

Pre-marital property is any asset that was owned by either spouse prior to the marriage. Separate property includes any property that was inherited or gifted to one spouse during the marriage. These assets are generally not divided during a divorce and remain the property of the original owner. However, if pre-marital or separate property funds are used to acquire or improve marital assets, they may become commingled and subject to division during the divorce.

Factors Considered in Determining the Distribution of Marital Assets

Factors taken into account when dividing marital assets include whether the property is separate or community property (property owned jointly by a married couple), the length of the marriage, and financial and non-financial contributions of each spouse to the marriage.

Additionally, the number of marital debts can also affect the distribution of assets. Courts may decide to offset debts against assets or may decide to divide debts as well as assets between the parties.

It’s important to note that legal guidelines vary from state to state, so it is advisable for individuals to seek legal counsel when determining the fair distribution of marital assets and debts during a divorce.

Responsibility for Marital Debts

Marital debts are any debts that were incurred during the marriage, regardless of which spouse’s name is on the account or loan. Both spouses are responsible for these debts, and they must be divided as part of the divorce settlement. In some cases, spouses may agree to divide the debts equally, while in others, one spouse may assume more of the debt in exchange for other assets.

Schedule a Consultation With Redwood Divorce Lawyer

Dividing marital assets and debts, determining child custody and support, and finalizing other legal arrangements can make divorces complicated and sometimes acrimonious. Seeking guidance from a top experienced divorce lawyer is often the best way to manage your divorce. 

Recently relocated to offices in Redwood City, CA, Bradley Bayan has been practicing Domestic Relations law for over 20 years with an emphasis on divorce law which includes dissolution of marriage, child custody, spousal support, and distribution of marital assets. Contact the Law Offices of Bradley D. Bayan at (650) 364-3600 to schedule a free consultation. 

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