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Property Division Lawyers Near You

Brook M. Thibault avatar
Brook M. Thibault is a Virginia Beach trial lawyer, former Associate Counsel for CMA CGM (America) LLC the world's third largest container ship company, and Pub...
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Brook M. Thibault is a Virginia Beach trial lawyer, former Associate Counsel for CMA CGM (America) LLC the world's third largest container ship company, and Pub...
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Miguel Nieves avatar
Attorney Miguel Nieves has more than 20 years of family law experience. Miguel focuses his practice exclusively on family law, and he provides invaluable counse...
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Attorney Miguel Nieves has more than 20 years of family law experience. Miguel focuses his practice exclusively on family law, and he provides invaluable counse...
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Separate from child custody, one of the main concerns of a divorcing couple is what to do with their shared property. What happens to the house? What happens to the family pet? Divorce state law varies, as do the abilities of spouses to reach an agreement. Legal assistance is highly recommended for both parties.

What is a Property Division Lawyer?

One of the most contentious and complex aspects of a divorce is the division of property. A complex or high-asset divorce is especially complicated. A property division attorney is a highly skilled and experienced lawyer adept at handling such cases.

What Does a Property Division Attorney Do?

Couples feuding over sentimental items overlook their larger financial picture. The best property division lawyer near you recognizes those issues so that no client is treated unfairly. Many family law firms specializing in divorce have a team of evaluators who can provide accurate estimates of all property, financial investments, retirement funds, marital estate, and more.

During a divorce, the court considers these factors:

  1. Each spouse's contribution to acquiring marital property;
  2. The value of each party's property;
  3. At the time of distribution, each spouse's economic circumstances;
  4. The change in the value of each spouse's separate property during the marriage; and
  5. Separate vs. Marital Property.

One spouse's business might have become profitable during the marriage. Other assets such as retirement accounts may have changed value as well. Such assets or property could be considered divisible if the couple regularly used them. Furthermore, there are tax consequences to consider when dividing both marital and non-marital property.

A property division attorney negotiates and litigates whether such assets are marital property and, if so, how they are to be divided.

Uncovering hidden assets

In anticipation of a divorce, your spouse may attempt to hide assets. Attorneys in the property division work closely with reputable investigators and forensic accountants to find hidden property and trace sources of income:

  • Foreign accounts;
  • Money in the bank;
  • Offshore accounts;
  • Retitled holdings;
  • Investment accounts in other countries or states;
  • Gifts for loved ones and friends; and
  • Recent asset liquidations.

When to Hire a Property Division Lawyer

In all states, assets acquired during a marriage are considered "marital property," which must be divided between both spouses in a divorce.

Community property states divide marital property equally, 50/50. In the equitable distribution states, the property of the marriage is divided equitably, which means it’s divided as the court believes it is fair to do so, rather than 50/50.

When one spouse has squandered assets without consent or incurred debt that is not in the family's best interest, marital debts are divided similarly. A judge will usually assign these debts to the "guilty" spouse and order that the "innocent" spouse be reimbursed if one spouse spent marital funds on gambling or trips for an adulterous affair.

You can probably handle this part of your divorce on your own if you and your spouse have very little property or debt to divide or if you and your spouse can agree on what constitutes marital property, how much it's worth, and how it should be divided.

A mediator can also assist you in reaching an agreement or you can contact an attorney who can represent you in court if you cannot reach an agreement.

How Do I Choose a Property Division Attorney?

Choosing the right family law attorney can ease your mind and produce better results, whether you're going through a divorce, dealing with custody and support issues, planning an adoption, or facing another family law issue. You and your lawyer become partners in the process, helping you reach the outcome you desire within the law's bounds.

In the very emotional process of divorce, the best lawyer for property division near you can make all the difference to the outcome. The relationship between you and your attorney should be one of trust. You need an attorney who takes their cases seriously, listens to their clients, and moves the case forward. Consider these tips to find the right attorney.

  • Choosing an attorney that you feel comfortable working with;
  • Consider your needs when interviewing prospective attorneys;
  • Don't be afraid to ask for advice, but decide for yourself who you’ll hire;
  • Choosing a lawyer is more important than choosing a law firm;
  • Identify your ideal lawyer by asking yourself, “Do I like them?”;
  • Experience and expertise are needed for the best attorney-client relationship; and
  • Be careful with your lawyer's fees. Don't give them a blank check.

How Much Does a Property Division Lawyer Cost?

An attorney should be able to give you a good idea of the cost of your case. You may be able to negotiate a flat fee so you know how much the case will cost you. There's no way to know how much legal representation will cost you unless a lawyer offers a flat rate option.

Do Property Division Attorneys Usually Charge for Consultations?

While property division attorneys near you usually charge a contingency fee based on the settlement won, family law firms tend to charge an hourly fee. This is the amount of time spent on a case, which includes consultations, meetings, and working on dividing property. Depending on the attorney's skill and experience, their hourly rate can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is quasi-community property?

Property owned in another state before moving is called quasi-community property. Property that is quasi-communal is treated in the same manner as community property.

What is separate property?

Property that is not divided in a divorce is referred to as separate property. Examples of separate property are:

  • Premarital assets
  • Inheritances or gifts received throughout the marriage
  • Assets or property acquired after separation or divorce
How is property division determined?

There are three steps to determine property and asset division:

  • Determine the value of community assets and debt
  • Determine whether an asset or debt belongs to the community or to the individual
  • Divide community assets and debts among both parties