Is Your Divorce Petition Being Contested?

Divorce can bring out negative emotions even in the best of people. Personal issues are being vetted in a relatively public forum and blame is being cast. If resulting issues cannot be settled between spouses, said issues become the purview of a court and a judge. Issues in a contested divorce are varied and, depending upon one’s personal circumstances, may hold different levels of importance.

Issues of safety would almost always come first if emotions are running high. If such a situation presents itself, it behooves you to discuss the possibility of leaving the home or having your spouse leave the home during the divorce process. Your lawyer could request the Court(s) issue such an order. It would not be considered abandonment.

Issues common to quite a few divorces often involve property. Real estate and other assets that are acquired during the course of a marriage become part of an equitable distribution scenario. Often such properties will be divided equally. Property brought into a marriage by the parties is not considered marriage property for purposes of distribution. Also, property given to a spouse during the course of a marriage is not up for grabs during a divorce proceeding. A simple example of that could be something bequeathed to a spouse in a will. You should realize, however, that such property could become distributed marital property if a spouse’s name is added. An example could be money that is brought into a marriage by a spouse; if the other spouse’s name is added to such accounts subsequent to the marriage, then said property gets thrown into the distribution pot. Likewise, singular property which gains in value during the course of a marriage might be looked at for purposes of equitable distribution.

Usually monies in pensions, IRAs, 401K’s, etc. will be part of a distribution. Many times the distribution will be 50/50. An offshoot of the money scenario involves debts. Courts can assign spouses equal responsibility for taking care of debts incurred during the course of a marriage.

Any property of value that engenders arguments of ownership post divorce will need to be settled through a process involving appraisers. Value will need to be assigned so that a distribution decision can be made. One of the most common “properties” is usually the family home. Please realize that if minor children in the home are part of the equation, Courts will appraise the home but will NOT force a sale so as to satisfy a monetary settlement request by a spouse.

If it is not possible to engage in private spousal discussions to come to amenable decisions regarding the legal termination of a relationship, you are encouraged to seek professional guidance to protect your rights and make sure that any distributions will be fair and not based on acrimonious feelings.

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