How is Property Divided During a Divorce?

If you are divorcing and you and your spouse are fortunate enough to have assets, then those assets (and debts) need to divided between you and your spouse.  If you cannot agree on how to divide those assets and debts, then the judge will do it for you.

Property, including both assets and debts, is “equitably” divided in Alaska.  That may mean a 50/50 split, but often it does not.  Depending on the circumstances of the parties, the split on the assets and debts can range from 50/50 to a high of about 70/30.  While a 70/30 split is rare, it is not rare to see splits of 55/45 or 60/40.

For example, if both spouses are healthy, have been working and earn about the same amount of money, then the likely outcome would be a 50/50 split of the marital assets and debts.  On the other hand, if one spouse has been a stay-at-home parent while the other spouse has pursued a high-paying career, then the “stay-at-home” spouse is likely to get a larger share of the marital assets ranging up to 65% or so.

To divide the property, the court will first figure out what property is marital or separate.  Marital property would consist of anything earned or acquired during the marriage.  Separate property would consist of gifts or inheritances or pre-marital assets that are not converted into marital assets by virtue of comingling them with marital assets.

The court will then have to value the property identified, whether a house, a boat, a vehicle, art, guns or furniture and other household items.  Once the marital property is identified and the court has decided on a value, then the court will divide those assets and debts, after considering many factors, including the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, and the earning capacity of both parties.

Other considerations the court takes into consideration when dividing assets and debts include the financial condition of the parties, the conduct of the parties, the desirability of awarding the family home to the party who has primary physical custody of children, the circumstances and necessities of each party, the time and manner of acquisition of the property in question, the income-producing capacity of the property and the value of the property at the time of division.

On behalf of Hughes White Colbo Wilcox & Tervooren, LLC posted on Thursday, May 1, 2017.