When you decide to divorce, one of the most difficult tasks is separating your assets. When you are married for any length of time, chances are you have accumulated money, property, homes, vehicles, and other types of assets together. In South Carolina, assets are subject to equitable distribution.
Equitable distribution refers to the process of dividing the marital assets fairly, but not necessarily equally. In addition, only your marital property is subject to division. If you already held assets and brought them into the marriage or you obtained them after you filed for divorce, those assets will remain yours. The following is some information on dividing assets during your divorce.
Terms of Your Prenuptial Agreement
If you and your spouse entered into a prenuptial agreement before your marriage, the division of assets should be clear. With a prenuptial agreement, you and your spouse will have already decided how you intend to divide your money, property, and other assets should your marriage end.
The court will still have to sign off on your property division even with a prenuptial agreement. The judge will evaluate your agreement to make sure there was no misconduct or legal issues involved with the agreement.
For example, the judge may want to make sure the agreement was not signed by one party under duress. The judge may also check to ensure one spouse is not unfairly benefitting over the other.
One of the biggest asset division issues you will deal with is how you will divide the marital home. If you have kids, the judge may automatically award the home to the parent with sole or primary custody. This is not a guarantee, however.
You have the option to sell your home outright and split the equity, if there is any, after the sale. If one of you wants to keep the home, with or without children, the other person will have to offer a buyout to ensure equitable distribution.
If you have other significant assets, your attorneys could work out a deal in which one person receives a higher portion of your other assets to offset his or her share in the home in lieu of a buyout.
When it comes to your other property, such as vehicles, furniture, boats, and the like, couples should ideally figure this out on their own. Try not to be arbitrary when you are going through your property. Your goal is to be as fair as possible and avoid fighting over items.
Allow something used primarily by one spouse to go to that spouse. For instance, if one spouse enjoys fishing, do not stand in the way of that person taking the fishing gear. Do not try to take things just to spite the other person. This will only lead to additional time and money in court hashing out those details.
One thing you do need to be careful of is high-value property. For instance, if you own valuable antiques or expensive items, such as boats, luxury vehicles, fine art, motorhomes, and the like, you have to be careful when you decide who will receive what property.
To be fair, or if you can't divide property between yourselves without tension, you may want to involve your attorney when you divide these high-value items so no one will leave the marriage better off than the other.
If you need assistance with dividing your marital assets or need other types of representation for your divorce, contact the Cofield Law Firm. Our family owned and operated lawfirm is here to help you with any of your family law needs.