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Understanding how property is divided in a divorce

When going through a divorce, no matter whether it is an amicable separation or a turbulent breakup, it can be stressful to start to think about how you are going to divide all of the assets that you have acquired over the years.

The best case scenario is that the two of you can work out how you want to go about dividing assets between the two of you. However, due to conflict or an inability to agree about who should gain possession of certain sentimental assets, this might not be possible. The following are some basic pointers on how to navigate divorce property division.

Understanding the differences between separate property and community property

As a married couple, your finances are likely to have become very co-dependent over time, and the same with your possessions. However, you should always remember that the assets that you acquired before the divorce took place will always be considered as your separate property, as well as anything that you bought using inherited funds, or any personal gifts that you acquired during the marriage.

Community property is a term to describe any assets that were bought together during the marriage. This might be a family home, furniture or pension proceeds.

There might also be assets that you are confused as to whether they are community property or separate property, since they were purchased in a joint account. In this case, you may want to ask a court to decide.

If you are struggling to divide marital property in a divorce, it is helpful to understand how the law applies to you, and consider tools such as mediation so that you can work through the process in a mature way.

Source: FindLaw, "Divorce Property Division FAQ," accessed Feb. 08, 2018

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