One of the first questions clients ask me is who gets the house? How does a Judge determine Property Division. Am I entitled to a share of my spouse’s retirement account? Is he entitled to a piece of mine?
What are the factors that determine who gets what and how much?
1. The property must have been accumulated during the marriage whether it is a house or a condo or a retirement account.
2. How long the marriage lasted can effect property division. If the marriage only lasted two or three years, you most likely will decide to forgo any claim to each other’s retirement accounts. Dividing them by a special order might cost more than the share you are entitled to or they may be about equal and cancel each other out.
3. How much debt there is on top of the property can affect how property is divided. If the house or condo is underwater, you may both agree that you keep it in hopes that in a matter of time, there will be equity.
4. Whether one spouse has wasted assets or spent money entirely unrelated to your relationship or family such as on a boyfriend or girlfriend can result in a disproportionate share of the assets. You might not have to pay as much to keep the house once we factor in the $10,0000.00 spent on that affair by way of a loan or gift or even hotels and trips.
5. Your Relative Incomes can affect division of property. You may be entitled to alimony or what we now call spousal support but in lieu of monthly payments, you opt for a lump sum of money from the savings account for example.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. My firm would be happy to assist you in determining what you can rightfully claim.