One of the main concerns of many Connecticut residents who are ending their marriages is what happens to their property. They might have heard that this is an equitable distribution state, but may not know what that means. Not having at least a working understanding of how property is divided in a divorce can cause unnecessary stress and frustration.

The first task is to determine what property is considered to be separately owned by each spouse, if any, and what property is considered joint, or marital, property. If a couple is relying on a Connecticut court to make such determinations, proof will need to be provided before a decision is made. Some property is assumed to be separate such as inheritances, but if those funds or assets are commingled, that could change things. Thereafter, the task of determining how to divide the marital property begins.

Equitable is not synonymous with equal. The goal is to ensure that neither party has an unfair advantage. For instance, one party cannot walk away with “everything” while leaving the other without adequate means of support.

Couples going through a divorce are cautioned to be careful for what assets they insist on bargaining for either in negotiations or in court. Many assets such as the family home often have other financial and tax obligations tied to them that could jeopardize an individual’s future financial security. In order to reach an agreement that both parties can live with, or present the appropriate evidence to the court, a Connecticut resident may consider involving a family law attorney who can help distinguish between separate and marital property, assist in negotiations and/or provide representation in court.

Source: FindLaw, “Divorce Property Division FAQ“, Accessed on May 13, 2017