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Powerful Tips For Marital Asset Splitting in a Divorce

By Bill Gassett | January 23, 2024

Are you getting divorced and wondering how your assets will be distributed?

One of the things real estate agents deal with quite often is divorcing couples. In many marriages that resolve, a decision will be made to sell the family home. Sometimes, the parties are amicable, and others are not.

Divorce can be a challenging and emotional process, especially when it comes to dividing assets and property acquired during the marriage. This is where most of the disagreements occur.

Knowing the legal aspects of marital property division and asset splitting is crucial for ensuring a fair and equitable divorce settlement. Understanding how the house is split in a divorce is one of the most common questions. It is also what couples fight about most.

Maximum Real Estate Exposure is an excellent resource on asset division during a marital separation.

From three decades of experience with couples getting a divorce, they are usually not easy. There are significant emotions involved when selling a home during divorce.

It is essential for an excellent real estate agent that has experience with divorce when couples decide to sell. Couples should take the time to carefully decide who will be their representative.

It is vital it's a business decision and not one made based on emotions. The Realtor needs to be fair and impartial. Choosing a friend is usually not a wise decision.

If you're a first-time home seller, it will be even more crucial. You will have no experiences to help avoid mistakes.

We will examine the intricacies of property division in divorce, providing valuable insights and guidance for individuals navigating this aspect of the dissolution of their marriage.

What is Considered Marital Property?

Marital property refers to assets and property acquired during the marriage. It encompasses many assets. For example, real estate, bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, and personal possessions.

Determining which assets qualify as marital property and are subject to division during divorce proceedings is essential.

Creating a checklist is the start of forming equitable distribution. When couples are on the same page, things go much smoother. When they are not, the attorneys will be the ones who make out the best.

How is Marital Property Divided?

So, how are assets divvied up?

State laws typically govern the division of marital property. The approach can vary depending on the jurisdiction. Understanding the principles of equitable distribution becomes crucial. Community property is essential in determining how assets will be split between the divorcing spouses.

In equitable distribution states, marital property is divided fairly, though not necessarily equally. The division is based on various factors, such as the length of the marriage, each spouse's financial contribution, and the earning potential of each spouse.

In community property states, marital property is divided equally. Each spouse is generally entitled to half of the assets acquired during the marriage.

What Factors Influence Property Division?

Various factors can influence the division of marital property. It's essential to consider these elements when negotiating a divorce settlement.

From experience as a divorce Realtor, this is often where couples butt heads.

Understanding the significance of factors such as the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, the financial needs of each party, and the future earning potential can impact the outcome of property division.

How Did Each Spouse Contribute

One significant factor that influences property division is the financial contribution of each spouse during the marriage. This includes direct monetary and non-financial contributions. For example, homemaking or caregiving responsibilities.

Some spouses will neglect this as an afterthought. It's an oversight that plays a significant role in determining financial distribution.

Courts consider the efforts and sacrifices made by each spouse to build and maintain the marital estate. It significantly impacts the allocation of assets during the divorce proceedings.

Financial Needs Are a Factor

Another crucial factor in property division is the future financial needs of each party. This includes considering each spouse's earning potential, employability, and economic circumstances post-divorce.

For instance, if one spouse has significantly lower earning potential or is financially dependent on the other, the court may allocate a significant portion of the marital assets to support their future financial stability.

Getting a mortgage after a divorce could be tricky so that the home might stay with a particular person.

If one of the parties has lousy credit, buying another house with cash could be necessary.

How Long Were You Married?

The duration of the marriage also plays a pivotal role in property division. Longer marriages often involve more intertwined financial affairs and shared assets. This often leads to a more complex and comprehensive evaluation of the marital property.

Courts may consider the length of the marriage when determining the division of assets. They review the contributions and sacrifices made by each spouse throughout the marriage.

For example, if an individual gives up their successful career to stay home with the kids. Courts will look at the sacrifice made and the earnings potential lost.

Personal Conduct Can Apply

Additionally, the spouses' conduct during the marriage can influence property division in certain jurisdictions.

Factors such as wasteful dissipation of assets, financial misconduct, or other behaviors that affect the marital estate may impact how the assets are divided.

Courts may consider these behaviors when assessing the fair and just distribution of marital property.

Overall, the factors influencing property division in a divorce are multifaceted. Judges encompass various considerations to ensure a balanced and just resolution.

By understanding these factors, individuals can navigate the property division process with a clearer insight into the considerations that may impact the outcome of their divorce settlement.

The House Is Usually The Most Significant Decision

One of the most significant assets to consider is the family home. There are typically three options for dealing with the house: selling it, one spouse buying out the other's share, or one spouse keeping the house.

Each option comes with its own set of considerations and implications.

Sell The Home

Selling the house is often a straightforward solution. It allows both parties to walk away with their share of the equity, providing a clean break and a fresh start.

However, selling the house could also mean uprooting children from their familiar surroundings and disrupting their routines. The current market conditions and the emotional attachment to the home may impact the decision to sell.

When selling, it's vital to get an appraisal or a few comparative market analyses done by competent real estate agents.

Buy Out Agreement

Another option is for one spouse to buy out the other's share of the home. This can be a viable solution if one party wishes to remain in the house, especially if children are involved.

The buying spouse would need to secure financing to cover the other's share of the home's equity, which can be complex.

It's essential to consider the long-term financial implications and the affordability of maintaining the home as a single owner.

In my experience, I have seen some spouses want to get the house at all costs. It is a win-or-lose mentality. Unfortunately, it can be biting off more than you can chew scenario.

One Spouse Remains

Lastly, one spouse may choose to keep the house outright. This option may be suitable if one party has a strong emotional attachment to the home. For example, it could be an inherited property with familial bonds.

In these cases, it's essential to consider the ongoing costs of homeownership. There will be mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance expenses, and the potential impact on other financial assets.

Ultimately, the decision regarding the family home in a divorce is complex. It should be made carefully considering the financial, emotional, and practical implications for both parties and any children involved.

Seeking the guidance of legal and financial professionals can help navigate the complexities of this decision.


It is highly recommended to get legal counsel when going through a divorce. Having a divorce attorney in your corner will be worth it. However, you need to remember time is money.

You'll be on the clock. The sooner you can resolve it, the less costly it will be.

Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate industry with 38 years of experience. Bill is well respected for his informative articles for buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Newsbreak, Credit Sesame, Realty Biz News, and his own authoritative resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. He has been on of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last two decades.
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