When couples decide to divorce, there’s a lot of uncertainty about what the future will hold for each spouse. Part of that surrounds how property will be divided in the divorce. Who will keep the marital home? Who gets to keep the living room furniture that was bought last year? How about the joint country club membership?
Equitable property division
All these questions center around property division in divorce. In Kentucky, property division in divorce is based on equitable distribution. Equitable distribution doesn’t divide assets and debts 50-50. Instead, judges rule based on what is fair and equitable. This includes evaluating a few factors:
- What is marital property and what is separate property (owned before the marriage, an inheritance or individual gifts, or what was bought with funds that weren’t comingled)
- How well each spouse will be able to support themselves after the divorce
- How long the couple have been married
- How much alimony or child support a partner will pay
Dividing assets and debts
When it comes to dividing assets, property division in divorce doesn’t mean that each spouse will literally split a house or car in two. Rather, the value of these items that are marital property will be divided—one person may receive a more valuable car and a bigger share of retirement savings, while the other keep ownership of the marital home.
Any marital debts are also split equitably. This means that if the debt was brought into the marriage by one spouse, that spouse will pay it. It means that if the spouse keeping the marital home will benefit by taking on the mortgage debt (through tax write-offs and increasing property values), that spouse may pay more of that debt.
However, if one spouse has gambling debts or shopping debts that really came as a result of their individual spending, those individual debts likely will take away from their share of the divorce assets.
It is always better for couples to agree to property division out of court. However, that often isn’t feasible in divorce, and each will need to work with their attorney to prepare their best case for a proposed asset division.