Jonesboro Attorney Working Tirelessly to Protect What is Yours Through Divorce
Two main topics come up over and over for most of us when we are considering divorce. If there are children present, custody is typically the first topic of concern, and the second is the division of assets. What happens to my savings account and IRAs upon divorce? What happens to the business income that is shared between my spouse and me? Can he/she take everything? We have a basic instinct to protect what is ours and what we have worked hard for throughout our lives.
At OMG Law Firm, we understand this. We have worked with countless clients who are contemplating divorce or have begun the process and have helped them understand what to expect and how to best prepare for it. Let our team of attorneys fight for you as well to protect what is yours and help you move on to the next chapter of your life. Contact our Jonesboro offices today at (870) 330-7324 to begin the process and get your questions answered.
What Does Arkansas Follow as a General Rule for Asset Division During Divorce?
As are most states, Arkansas is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that upon a divorce, the assets of the couple are divided in an equitable fashion. This doesn’t always mean that they are divided equally. Generally speaking, judges will look at what splitting the assets 50/50 would mean for each of the parties involved. If it is equitable, they will typically rule in that way. In most cases, a strict 50/50 is not equitable for both parties, so the courts have other factors that they consider as well when making a determination.
Some of those factors are the length of time that you have been married to one another, as typically, with shorter marriages, there are fewer combined assets. They will also review the employability of each party—are both able to and prepared to work or has one party foregone college, for example, in order to raise children and now will have a harder time finding employment that produces a sustaining wage?—as well as their current income. They will also take into consideration the ages of each spouse, their health, and where they are in life concerning retirement, for example. Another aspect is what tax consequences will result for each party when dividing the assets. If alimony will be awarded, that is also another factor, as it will change the income for the recipient as well as the payor for the allotted time.
What About our Debts?
Marital debts are not always divided equally in divorce. As with several aspects mentioned above, judges will also review the specific circumstances surrounding each debt, such as what marital debts are to be considered and who is responsible for paying them. They can use their discretion as to who is ordered to pay off each debt, and these amounts are factored into the bigger picture of the division of assets, as it can have an effect on one or the other party’s ability to pay based on what assets remain in their name moving forward. Things like who incurred the debt and what the funds were used for are also investigated and taken into consideration but are not necessarily the deciding factors for judges.
What is Included in Marital Property/Assets?
Generally speaking, marital property is all that was acquired by the couple during the marriage. This can be physical property, bank accounts, gifts, and more. Monetary values are determined for each of the assets, and the couple can either determine who ends up with which assets or allow the assets to be divided in court or through mediation.
What about the assets you had prior to being married? These are considered separate assets. They can be things like an inheritance, a settlement, property owned prior to the marriage, and more. Separate assets are not typically included in the decisions of the judge when it comes to the division of assets. They may, however, choose to include their value when determining how to divide the marital assets, as it can mean one of the spouses has a distinct advantage over the other financially.
This can seem pretty black and white for couples, but it usually isn’t. There are many ways in which couples can convert separate assets into marital ones, whether they mean to or not. If you changed the title of a property from your own name to reflect joint ownership with your spouse, this could be considered marital property regardless of when it was acquired by you. In some cases, bank accounts can be intended to be separate, but if it can be proven that deposits have been made by both parties, for example, they can be considered marital assets as well and may need to be divided.
As with alimony and child support in Arkansas, the judge has discretion rather than a set format as to how they will rule. Having a professional team to help you build your argument as to what your separate assets are or what is rightfully yours from the marital assets can be invaluable to you now and in the future.
What Does Arkansas Consider as Non-Marital Assets?
Property owned prior to the marriage and inheritances are generally considered non-marital. However, if the property is “commingled” or there are other facts suggesting that a spouse is no longer treating the property as “non-marital,” a court could rule otherwise.
Why Do I Need OMG Law Firm?
The complexity that assets can create can make this portion of divorce seem incredibly daunting, especially if you aren’t prepared. Having a trusted team of experienced attorneys on your side can help you to be as prepared as possible and can create a compelling case that protects what is yours moving forward. Let our team be your advocate and get you back to beginning the next chapter of your life. Contact us today at (870) 330-7324 to get started.