In South Carolina, there are two ways to divide marital property: either the parties can agree on a property division or the court can order one. In legal terms, “property” doesn’t just mean a piece of land – it refers to anything that you own, including furniture, jewelry, cars, cash, investments, and even debts.The first step in any property division is to determine which property is “marital property” that must be divided between you and your spouse. In general, property that you inherited, received as a gift, or owned before you got married is non-marital property that already belongs to you, it does not get divided as part of the divorce. Property that you acquired during your marriage is marital property.In South Carolina, marital property is “equitably apportioned” between the husband and wife. This means that the division of property must be fair, but it does not necessarily have to be equal.If you can’t agree on how to divide your property, a judge will assign a value to your marital property. The judge will then divide the property between you and your spouse, taking these factors into consideration:
- The length of the marriage and the parties’ ages at the time of marriage and divorce.
- Marital misconduct or fault, if it affected the parties’ economic circumstances or contributed to the breakup of the marriage.
- The value of the marital property and the contribution of each spouse to that value.
- Each spouse’s income and earning potential.
- Each spouse’s physical and emotional health.
- Each spouse’s need for additional training or education.
- Each spouse’s non-marital property.
- The existence of vested retirement benefits for either spouse.
- Whether separate maintenance or alimony has been awarded.
- The desirability of awarding the family home to the spouse who has custody of the children.
- Tax consequences.
- The existence of support obligations from a prior relationship.
- Liens and debts.
- Child custody arrangements.
- Any other relevant factors.
The LaMantia Law Firm has the experience and understanding to help you resolve the property issues in your divorce. They can prepare a settlement agreement that divides your property and also resolves other issues including child custody, visitation and support and alimony. Call for a free consultation.