It is always to a divorcing couple’s benefit to come to their own agreement on how they want to divide their marital property. If the parties cannot agree on a fair and acceptable settlement, then the courts will be making those personable decisions for them.
Connecticut is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that all property owned by the parties divorcing is under the jurisdiction of the courts. Division will be based on what the Superior Court considers fair and equitable.
What does the court consider when making equitable distribution?
Factors the court looks at are how long the marriage has lasted, why the marriage is being dissolved, the age and health of each spouse, occupations, sources and amount of income, skills and employability of each spouse, estate and assets and liabilities of the couple.
What is considered “fair” by the courts?
Fair is “equitable distribution.” Contributions during the marriage from both spouses are considered, including the value of a homemaker if one spouse stayed home and cared for the family or household. In short marriages, the court may attempt to return the parties to the state they were in before the marriage. In longer marriages, the court usually tries to divide assets more in the line of 50-50. However, if one party is at fault for the dissolution of marriage, that may be factored into a judge’s decision on property division or alimony awards.
Does property a spouse owned before the marriage get included in the division of property?
Because Connecticut is a pure equitable distribution state, the judge can chose to distribute assets belonging to either party however he or she feels is equitable.
However, that being said, property that was owned before the marriage, or that was a gift or inheritance to one party during the marriage is considered separate. If the gift or inheritance was given or bequeathed to both parties, it is marital property. Separate property that remains separate and does not get mixed in with marital property during the marriage can remain exempt from distribution. If the property is combined with joint property, it becomes marital and is subject to distribution.
Working with your attorney and your spouse’s attorney to try to resolve distribution of property yourselves can prevent you from having no say in your property division.
Source: Divorcesource.com, “Connecticut Property Division,” accessed March 02, 2018