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Marital Property and Debt Division

General Rule: property division in divorce is generally done by gathering all the property obtained during the marriage and then dividing it equitably, which usually means equally.

All the property obtained during the marriage is often called the “marital estate.”  The marital estate includes both assets and liabilities or, in other words, stuff and debts.  Commonly there is: real property (house); personal property (everything else that is not real property) to include vehicles, furniture, wedding gifts received, recreational equipment, tools, boats, toys, art works, bank account holdings, stocks, bonds, retirement funds and benefits, etc.; and, debts incurred during the marriage, usually related to all the “stuff” acquired during the marriage.

It doesn’t matter that Sally bought a bunch of stuff with marital funds for her hobby, it was a marital expense.  It doesn’t matter if Jimmy bought a lot of old cars with marital money and fixed them up.   The property bought and any increase in value (or decrease in value) are part of the marital estate to be divided equitably/equally.

In separate blogs I will address some exceptions for separate property and other property division rules which do not follow this simple analysis, such as premarital assets/debt, extra-marital assets/debts, , commingled assets and waste of the marital estate.

Please comment, add, refute, clarify or inquire regarding this posting if you are so inclined.