A Step-by-Step Guide to How Assets are Divided During a Divorce

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Divorce is something that is never expected at the start of a new marriage. For that reason, rarely does anyone take the time to learn about the division of assets during a divorce, leaving this important aspect of divorce to be quite confusing if and when one goes through a divorce themselves.

On top of that, the division of a divorced couple’s assets is not so clear-cut at first considering the once-married couple achieved much of their assets together. So, where does everything go? Who gets what? Do things have to be shared? What happens if both spouses are in disagreement?

Fortunately, we have the answers to your questions regarding asset division.

  1. You and your spouse decide for yourselves how assets will be divided.

In simple cases, each spouse may decide how marital assets will be distributed. However, both parties must agree on who gets what before things can actually be divided.

However, things can get complex. For instance, one spouse may believe they are more deserving of, say, a vehicle that was jointly purchased during marriage because they were the main person who drove it and took care of it. That’s when mediation may come in handy.

  1. You can your spouse can divide assets by agreeing in mediation.

When a couple cannot agree on how assets should be divided, they can opt for a third party known as a mediator to help them make rational, fair decisions. Agreeing in mediation is an alternative to going to court.

A mediator is especially good to opt for when asset division is complex or when the divorcing spouses have heavy tension between them, making it difficult to fairly divide up assets on their own. However, mediation is not recommended in cases where domestic violence was present.

  1. If there’s an unresolved disagreement, the judge will decide.

If the spouses cannot agree on asset division, whether or their own or with a mediator, the judge will make the decision(s) on their behalf.

When deciding who gets what, the judge will consider the reason for the divorce, the length of the marriage, the financial requirements of both spouses, how much each spouse contributed to the marital estate, among other vital information.

Separate versus Marital Property

Before assets can even be divided, it’s important to consider which assets can actually be divided from the start.

Separate property, assets that belong to just one spouse and one spouse only, cannot be divided. Examples of separate property include assets that a spouse had prior marriage or a gift or inheritance received by one spouse whether before or during the marriage.

Marital property, on the other hand, can be divided. Most of a married couple’s assets will be considered marital property. Regardless of whose name is on a title or deed, property obtained by one or both spouses is always shared.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy knowing what is separate property and what is marital property. Even then, knowing how to divide up marital assets can be complex as is. Learn more about asset division during a divorce from The McCoy Law Firm, LLC.


While asset division varies in every divorce, generally, it is done so in three different ways: spousal decision, spousal agreement in mediation, or the judge’s decision. However, asset division can be complex as there are both separate and martial properties involved. Fortunately, a good attorney can guide a divorcing spouse with fair and legal asset distribution.

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