Connecticut law and equitable distribution of property during divorce

Having a basic understanding of how property is split during divorce can help ease the process.

Going through a divorce is difficult. The process results in the end of both an emotional and financial partnership. As such, it is wise to have an understanding of how the property division determination portion of the divorce proceeding works.

Those going through a divorce have two options: they can either come up with a division they agree upon on their own, which the court will review and approve if they find the agreement to be fair and equitable, or they can defer to the court to make the determination. If the court system is used, state law applies.

How property division works in Connecticut

Connecticut does not apply a simple 50/50 split. Instead, state law allows the courts to split the property in a matter it deems "fair." It is important to note that the term "property" is broad. It encompasses all assets, including savings and checking accounts, stocks and bonds, business interests, retirement accounts, real property, art, jewelry and other tangible objects as well as debts, no matter how or when acquired or whose name they are in. A value is then placed on these items. In some instances, such as real estate or business interests, a professional may be needed to put a value on the asset. Once all the property is valued, the court will move forward with the division determination portion of the proceeding.

The Connecticut Judicial Branch notes that the state uses an all property equitable distribution scheme to divide property. Essentially, this means that the court could divide property in any way it deems "equitable." This can translate to either party getting "all or any part of the estate of the other."

The court may take a variety of circumstances into consideration when making its determination. State law allows for the consideration of the following:

[The] length of the marriage, the causes for the annulment, dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income.

Additional considerations can include each party’s contribution to the marriage. This includes both monetary contributions from professional earnings as well as homemaking activities and care taking responsibilities.

Importance of legal counsel

Navigating through a divorce proceeding can be an emotionally draining and time consuming process. As a result, it is wise to contact an experienced property division lawyer. This legal professional will guide you through the divorce process, advocating for your rights and working to better ensure a favorable outcome.