Property Division in a Connecticut Divorce
What is considered marital property in a Connecticut divorce?
Marital property in a Connecticut divorce includes all assets brought into the marriage, accumulated during the marriage, inherited during the marriage, and interests in other assets in which a party has an interest such as an irrevocable trust, a business or partnership, or a deferred compensation plan.
Is there such thing as “separate property” in Connecticut?
Connecticut does not recognize “separate property” claims by a spouse with respect to property either brought into the marriage or inherited during the marriage. A skillfully drafted prenuptial agreement can address this issue prior to a marriage. Additionally, the Court may take into consideration whether an asset was brought into the marriage or inherited by a spouse in determining how and to what extent it will be distributed as marital property in a divorce.
How will our assets be divided in a Connecticut divorce?
The process of divorce includes the division of marital property between the parties. The Court will divide assets such as bank accounts, brokerage accounts, personal property, business interests, retirement assets such as pensions, 401K and deferred compensation assets, and real property held by the parties. The division of property must be “equitable”, but not necessarily “equal”. Each party must sign a Sworn Financial Affidavit detailing his or her income, expenses, assets and liabilities. These Financial Affidavits will ultimately be filed with the Court and will form the basis of all financial orders, whether the case is resolved through settlement or litigation.
What factors will the Court consider in dividing our assets?
The Court may consider certain factors in dividing the marital estate, including the:
- length of the marriage;
- cause for the breakdown of the marriage;
- age and health of the parties;
- income, occupation, assets and liabilities of each party;
- opportunity for each party to acquire assets and income in the future; and
- the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of his or her respective estates.
Is Connecticut a “no fault” state in determining the division of property in my divorce?
While Connecticut is a “no fault” state in terms of not having to prove fault in order to be entitled to a divorce, the Connecticut court may consider “fault” that caused the breakdown of the marriage in determining property distribution. In some instances, the Court may compensate the spouse not found to be at fault by giving that spouse a greater share of the marital estate in a divorce.
Will I need an expert to assist in valuing our assets?
In some instances, the financial affidavits submitted by the parties are insufficient to analyze the value and extent of the marital assets. In these instances, it may be necessary to employ a forensic accountant and/or business valuation expert to assist in locating assets which may be hidden by a spouse, to value a business owned by a spouse, or to trace monies which may have been wrongfully dissipated by a spouse.