Choosing to dissolve a marriage is one of the most challenging decisions you can make. You must overcome many legal obstacles before your divorce decree may be issued, and your divorce is officially finalized. While child custody, child support, and alimony can be heated topics in a divorce, property division tends to be particularly challenging and contentious for most couples. Connecticut laws regarding property division can be complicated, and it is often difficult for most people to understand the specifics of the laws and how they apply to their unique cases. The only way to ensure a favorable outcome with the property determination in your divorce case is to secure legal representation from an experienced Glastonbury property division lawyer.
At CT Divorce Mediation Center, our team of expert family law attorneys can help you obtain a collaborative divorce, conduct mediation between you and your ex to reach the best agreement for your family, or litigate your case if your ex is unwilling to communicate or cooperate. Learn more about property division by consulting the information below, then contact us to discuss your case and how our team can help you.
Property Division Law in Connecticut
Connecticut is considered an “all property equitable distribution state,” meaning the court has the power to designate all or any part of the marital estate to either party in a divorce, assign the property to a third party, or order the property to be sold. Thus, all property, regardless of when or how either party acquired it, is subject to division and redistribution by the court, including property obtained individually before the marriage. An equitable distribution approach aims not to split the property equally between both parties but to do so fairly based on specific factors, such as the contributions they made to their marriage, their separate earning potential, and their needs following the divorce.
In an “all-property” state, the court presumes that all property belonging to a married couple is marital property unless proven otherwise. Thus, unlike courts in other states that consider how property is titled when making property determinations, Connecticut courts are no more likely to award the property to the non-title holder spouse than the spouse who owns property solely in their name. The state also does not distinguish between property owned before marriage and property acquired during the marriage, and gifts and inheritances can also be divided in a divorce.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
Marital property refers to any property that is acquired during a marriage, excluding gifts and inheritance. Any real estate, retirement funds, or other property acquired during the marriage with marital funds is considered marital property owned by both spouses. Separate property refers to property that belongs to only one spouse, including gifts, inheritances, assets owned before entering into the marriage, and property kept separate from the joint assets or accounts belonging to the couple. As an all-property state, Connecticut does not recognize separate property unless the spouse can definitively prove it is not marital property.
What Do Judges Consider When Dividing Property?
If you and your ex cannot reach a property division agreement on your own, a judge will be given the final decision-making authority in how your property will be divided and redistributed between the two of you. The court will consider the following factors when making a determination regarding the nature and value of the property in a divorce:
- The length of the marriage
- The stated cause of the dissolution of the marriage, annulment, or legal separation
- Each spouse’s portion of fault for the end of the relationship
- Any evidence of economic misconduct, such as excessive spending, gambling, or fraud
- The health and age of each party
- The occupation and station of each party
- The sources of income and income amount earned by each party
- The vocational skills, employability, and earning potential of each party
- The estate and financial liabilities of each party
- Any relevant special needs of each party
- Whether one spouse served as the primary caretaker of the children so the other spouse could take advantage of educational or career opportunities that improved their income or earning potential
- The contribution each party made in terms of acquiring, preserving, or appreciating the value of their respective estates
- The opportunity each party has for acquiring capital assets and income in the future
Although they will consider the factors above, the judge has complete discretion in weighing each factor and establishing financial court orders for the divorce. Two judges who review the same evidence may make significantly different property determinations, so it is impossible to accurately estimate how the property will be divided. However, a Glastonbury property division lawyer will be familiar with recent similar court decisions and have the resources for engaging in discovery to gather strong supporting evidence for your position and effectively present your claim at trial.
Achieve a Favorable Outcome in Your Property Division
Property division in a divorce can be an expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally charged process, but hiring an attorney at the very beginning can save you a great deal of time and hassle. The Glastonbury property division lawyers at CT Divorce Mediation Center can help you understand Connecticut’s divorce laws and guide you through every legal issue a divorce entails, from property division and alimony to child custody and child support. With legal representation from our team, you can ensure your rights are protected, your best interests are prioritized, and you achieve the best outcome for your family. Especially in cases involving children, it is essential to approach the end of your marriage with transparency, logic, and integrity so you can begin your separate lives amicably and set yourself up for co-parenting success.
If you are going through a divorce or want to learn more about your options, contact CT Divorce Mediation Center today to schedule a consultation. We can help you and your ex reach a constructive divorce settlement, avoid the financial and emotional impact of litigation, and take control over your future. Ultimately, the best approach is to hold civil, respectful, and productive negotiations with your ex to reach a mutually beneficial solution, but this is not always possible. If negotiations fail, we can litigate your case, represent you in court, and aggressively advocate on your behalf to deliver the best results for your family.