Spousal SupportSpousal Support

The court may award just and reasonable spousal support if the division of assets is insufficient for the suitable support of either party including any children committed to his or her care.  The court must consider the ability of either party to pay and the particular circumstances of the case.  Factors to be considered include:

  • Past relations and conduct of the parties
  • Length of marriage
  • Ability of the parties to work
  • Source of and amount of property awarded to the parties
  • Ages of the parties
  • Ability of the parties to pay spousal support
  • Present situation of the parties
  • Needs of the parties
  • Health of the parties
  • Prior standard of living of the parties
  • Whether either party is responsible for the support of others
  • General principles of equity

Due to the extensive nature of spousal support disputes and the law involved,
this subject is best left to an in-depth discussion with your attorney.

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Division of Assets

Step one in the division of assets is a determination as to whether a valid nuptial agreement exists.  If not, and the parties are unable to agree on a division of assets, the court must identify marital and separate property.  Generally, property and debts accumulated through the direct or indirect efforts of the parties during the marriage are considered marital property and is subject to equitable distribution by the court.  Alternatively, separate property is not divisible in divorce absent special circumstances.  Separate property may include premarital property, gifts, inheritances, appreciation or income on separate property, and pain and suffering awards. 

Property settlements must allocate debts as well as assets.  Regular household debts accrued during the marriage are assumed to be joint debts regardless of whose name the debt is in or who signed the credit card slip or loan agreement.  Marital debts are treated as negative assets in allocating each spouse‚Äôs share of the marital estate.

Once marital property and debts are identified, the court will place value on the marital estate and determine an equitable distribution of assets based upon the specific circumstances of a particular case.  The court may consider fault when determining property division and, if circumstances warrant, may invade separate property in the final distribution of assets.

Due to the extensive nature of property settlements and the law involved,
this subject is best left to an in-depth discussion with your attorney.

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