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Divorce, Asset Division, and the Importance of Location

By Nottage and Ward on September 26, 2013

Location does not just describe one’s physical environment; it incorporates social, financial, and legal “geographies,” such as culture, job availability and proximity, and laws. In other words, location affects everyone deeply and largely determines their lives. Even family law can vary widely depending on location.

State rules and laws regarding the asset division process of divorce are particularly diverse. Divorcees in one state may encounter vastly different rules relating to asset division than if they were in another state. There is no established nationwide set of asset division laws to which all states conform.

Equitable Distribution

“Equitable distribution” is a set of asset division rules used in many states. According to the rules, a judge examines the spouses’ specific circumstances and uses his or her discretion to divide assets in a fair manner. One factor commonly considered by judges is the ability of each spouse to support him- or herself post-divorce. It is more likely than not that a judge will grant the “caretaker” spouse rather than the “breadwinner” a greater share of assets.

The duration of a marriage is another commonly considered factor. Courts are usually hesitant to grant one spouse the other’s assets if the marriage was a short-lived one. They are also encouraged not to drive a spouse into poverty through equitable distribution. Some states even insist on awarding each spouse at least a third of the marital property.

Community Property

In a few states, “community property” rules are applied to the asset division process. They are fairly simple. Basically, a judge who adheres to these rules halves the divorcing couple’s joint assets. Each spouse’s individual financial or physical conditions do not come into play at all. Although quick and clean, this method often produces unfair judgments and leaves the losing spouse in a precarious position.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

At Nottage and Ward, our experienced Chicago property division attorneys have established a reputation of dependability and success. We will provide you with quality representation and do our best to secure your future. To learn more about what we can do for your divorce case, call us at (312) 332-2915.

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