You may think your divorce will be a long, drawn-out process, taking months to finalize. Because of the number of stocks, high-end assets and multiple properties, figuring out who gets what and how much might be a never-ending process.
Dividing property may be contentious if you do not already have documentation showing how you want everything separated, so Kentucky courts may get involved by using equitable distribution.
Kentucky, like most states, has equitable distribution to divide the property. Do not confuse equitable with equal. Equitable distribution means it is the court’s goal to divide the property in a manner that is fair to both parties.
Judges use four factors when considering how to separate marital property:
- Contribution of each spouse to include the contribution of a spouse as homemaker
- Value of property
- Length of marriage
- The financial situation of each spouse after property division takes effect
The courts define marital property as anything gained by either spouse during the marriage. However, here are some things that a judge may not consider marital. These include:
- Property gained as a gift or bequest
- Anything received before the marriage
- Property obtained after a legal separation
Just as the courts use equitable distribution to divide property, they also use it to divide debts. Any debt incurred during the marriage belongs to both parties, even if only one spouse’s name is on the credit card or loan. However, if your spouse raked in debt because of gambling or other reckless means, you may not have to pay for it.
Understand the laws behind equitable distribution before entering the divorce process. Be aware you may not get everything you want unless you write up an agreement beforehand.