When parties get divorced, all property acquired during the marriage must be divided between them. Property division is one of the most important issues in a marriage dissolution. There are all types of property that have to be distributed, including real estate, automobiles, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, employment benefits, furniture, recreational vehicles, and personal effects.
Property division is a three step process:
1. Setting Aside Separate Property. The first thing that the parties or the court must do is to set aside each parties’ separate property. Generally speaking, separate property consists of all property owned by a person before they are married, together with property they received during the marriage by gift or inheritance. Any property exchanged for separate property is also separate property, provided that the exchange can be traced. Any property received after a decree of separation is separate property. The characterization of property as separate or marital is very important because the court cannot award one spouses’ separate property to the other spouse. Some exceptions apply, so if you have any questions, you should consult with an attorney.