When spouses are unable to come to their own agreement about dividing property or debt during a divorce, the courts will decide how your assets are divided between the two of you. However, depending on where you are based in the country, you may find you live in an equitable distribution state or a community property state. Here I’m going to share with you the difference between these two regulations and what you can expect when selling your home during a divorce.
Community Property States
Nine states in the United States are community property states. These include California, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Louisiana, New Mexico, Washington, Texas, and Wisconsin. In these nine states, any property that is owned by a married person is considered to be community property, meaning it’s owned jointly by both partners. Anything that just one spouse owns is designated as separate property. Property or assets that were acquired during the marriage would be classed as marital property, but there are slightly different rules in each state which a divorce attorney can advise you about.
During a divorce, community property will be split equally between the two partners, and then they’ll keep their own separate property. As well as the nine states listed above, in Alaska, couples are able to opt in to this system if they prefer. In Tennessee or South Dakota, they use a similar system which you can choose to use, which works to transfer property or assets into a community property trust.
Equitable Distribution States
In any of the other states in the US, equitable distribution is used. This works to split up any assets and earnings that were acquired during the marriage in a fair manner, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it uses a 50-50 split. For example, a judge may state that one partner has to use their separate property to create a fair settlement. A court will often give each partner a percentage of the property value or assets instead of physically dividing up the property between the two partners.
During this process, couples will want to seek the advice of a divorce real estate expert, who can guide each partner through the process to ensure they receive fair compensation. It’s essential that you don’t hide any of your separate property, as this could result in your spouse being awarded 100% of an asset. Each state has its own rules and punishments regarding this area, which a divorce attorney can discuss with you during the process.
When beginning your divorce proceedings, ensure you are aware of whether your state is a community property state or equitable distribution state. With the help of divorce real estate experts, you can set yourself up financially for the future and ensure you come out on the other side of your divorce being able to provide for yourself and your family as needed. For more information and to clarify what type of state you live in, don’t hesitate to contact me today for assistance and support in this area.