Determining what assets should be included as marital property and who gets these items can be a pretty big argument between divorcing couples. Property acquired before marriage may or may not be considered marital property. When a prenuptial agreement exists, it can help determine the marital assets and protect anything owned prior to marriage. Stay at home moms and other non-working spouses are protected by the court in some states and can receive part of the assets or compensation for them. Other factors such as who will be raising the children and who has more income can sway how everything is divided.
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With the exception of rare circumstances, everything acquired throughout the marriage is included as marital property. These are things such as the home, vehicles, and bank account funds. By being married both parties agree to share financial gains and losses. Marital assets can be divided in two ways depending upon the standards of family law set in each state.
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Approximately ten states follow community property laws while the others use equitable distribution. Knowing the particular states laws can be very helpful in being prepared for the divorce and proceedings. Divorce lawyers can help determine which assets will be included as marital assets and most reasonable way to divide them.
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Equitable distribution is the more common of the two ways to divide assets. Distribution of assets is not necessarily guaranteed to be 50/50 in these states. The court itself decides what division percentage is fair and reasonable for both parties. A court makes this decision based on many different factors. Some of them include the length of the marriage, both parties’ income, responsibility for the children, and debt. Another factor is what each person had when they entered the marriage. A prenuptial agreement takes precedence over the laws definition of distribution and can make determining the marital assets much easier.