Upon the dissolution of a marriage, during the divorce court trial and process, certain other factors will also be determined. These factors may include such things as child custody, child support, alimony, and the distribution of marital property. How the distribution and dispersion of said property is determined relies solely upon a few legal precedents and factors.
Before marital property can be divided, the courts will take the time to classify, characterize, and assess the value of the property. When the property is characterized, the courts seek to determine if said property is joint or communal property (meaning belong to both individuals), if the property is separate (only belonging to one of the individuals), or if the property is quasi-marital. Quasi-marital property is property that was acquired while at least one spouse believed they were still legally married.
Once the marital property is classified and characterized, the courts must give each property item a monetary value. Keep in mind, marital property is not solely land or housing property, but can and will include all possessions and belongings. This means that the automobiles owned by the couple, all of the items within their home or homes, stocks, investments, and other assets are all considered marital property. This property will either be given a set value based upon an appraisal or the current market value of said item. In certain circumstances, the estranged couple may agree upon the value of an item, without seeking the thoughts of an appraiser.
After a monetary value has been assigned to all of the joint, communal, and quasi-marital properties of the separating couple, the court will then divide the entire amount in half. An equitable division, with both parties receiving half, is the most common standard for the courts in the United States. As a result, this could mean that one party retains the home and belongings inside the home, while the other party retains the liquid assets, investments, and automobiles. There are numerous ways in which to divide the total marital property, and often items of extreme value will need to be liquidated or sold prior to the division.
Unfortunately, neither party is allowed to file an appeal of property distribution solely based upon the fairness of the final decision. If one party feels that they were wronged in not getting the home, for example, in the settlement, this is not a valid standpoint for an appeal. In the court’s eyes, the entire value of the marital property was divided equally, therefore there is little legal recourse for appeal. However, if the appellant and their attorney can prove that the decision was is some way unlawful, then there could be grounds for appeal.
Learn more about your options for appealing a property division judgement in a free phone consultation with the appellate attorneys at Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC!