What Am I Entitled
to In a Divorce?
While divorce rates have been dropping across the country in the last year, more than 11,000 people still chose to file for divorce in Kansas during the 2019 fiscal year. If you are considering divorce, have already started the divorce process, or have just been served divorce papers and want to learn more about what to expect in terms of asset and debt division, an experienced Kansas divorce attorney can help.
With over four decades of family law experience, Jeffers Law Office knows the ins and outs of the divorce process in Kansas. The firm is dedicated to providing each of their clients with top quality, personalized legal services that can help them move forward. If you live in Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, Prairie Village, or anywhere else throughout Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Miami County, or Leavenworth County, Kansas — contact Jeffers Law Office today for reliable legal counsel and representation for your divorce case.
Property & Debts
For most people going through a divorce, understanding the division of property and debt is always a point of concern. Generally speaking, property and debt are split up into two categories — marital (mutual) and non-marital (individual) property.
Marital Property & Debts
Marital property and debt is any property and debt that is acquired by a married couple, either jointly or individually, after marriage. Marital property and debts can be acquired solely or jointly, but it belongs to both spouses. Common examples of marital property and debts include:
- Homes and home mortgage loans
- Cars and auto loans
- Credit card and medical debt
- Household goods and furnishings
- Artwork, antiques, and collectibles
In divorce proceedings, marital property and debt must be divided equitably (usually as close to equally as possible) unless otherwise agreed to by the divorcing spouses.
Non-Marital Property & Debts
Non-marital property is property that was owned by a spouse prior to the marriage as well as any gifts or inheritances that were received or given duirng the marriage.
When it comes to divorce, the "entry value" of the non-marital property will be retained by the party who owned it prior to the marriage or received or inherited it during the marriage, but any appreciation in value after the marriage or after it was received during the marriage is generally considered to be marital and subject to an equitable division.
Who Determines How
Assets are Divided?
In divorce proceedings, ideally, the spouses will amicably determine how their assets and debts are to be equitably divided. If they are unable to agree, the judge will decide at the trial of the case.
A divorce is uncontested when both spouses are able to agree on any and all settlement terms. This involves not only how assets and debts are divided, but other aspects as well, such as spousal support/maintenance (alimony) and child custody/the parenting time schedule/child support. When both parties agree as to all terms of the settleemnt, the attorneys draft a property settlement agreement and submit it to the judge for approval. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses can determine exactly how the assets and debts are divided and come to an agreement on all other issues.
A divorce is contested when the spouses are unable to agree on all the terms of the divorce settlement. Given that many marriages come to an end due to a contentious relationship, many spouses are unable to come to an agreement as to all issues. In that event, both parties will be required to appear in front of a judge for a trial and the judge will rule on any issues not agreed upon such as the equitable division of the assets and debts. It’s important to remember that assets and debts will be divided in accordance with certain state laws as well as state and local guidelines.
Factors Considered in Asset Division
When it comes to the process of asset and debt division, there are a number of various factors that will be considered. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- The length of the marriage
- The needs of each party
- The financial contribution that each party made during the marriage
- The property owned by the parties
- The parties' present and future earnings
- How certain property and debts were acquired
- The age and health of each spouse
- Family ties and obligations
- Whether or not spousal support is awarded
- Whether either spouse has dissipated assets
- The tax consequences of the division of the assets and debts
- Any other factor the judge considers relevant
Judges have very broad discretion to consider each spouse's personal and financial situation to determine the details of how any assets and debts will be divided and distributed.
How Jeffers Law Office Can Help
Having a trusted ally on your side during your family law case can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Jeffers Law Office has been advocating on behalf of individuals and families since 1979, and can help you navigate your divicorce case as well. Having an experienced family law attorney who understands the Kansas family court system and all of the relevant state divorce laws can help you pursue the best possible outcome for your divorce case.
If you are facing the prospect of divorce and live in Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, Prairie Village, or anywhere else throughout Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Miami County, or Leavenworth County, Kansas, contact Jeffers Law Office today for help. You can call today to schedule a free initial phone conversation and learn more about how divorce attorney Mark Jeffers can provide you with the guidance you need.