Property Division

Equitable Distribution

Equitable Distribution of Assets

Navigating Property Division in Divorce

Marriage creates not only an emotional partnership but also a financial partnership. Much like dissolving the financial partnership of a business, the financial partnership of a marriage must be dissolved in the divorce. How the debts and assets are divided can make a huge difference in how you move forward after divorce.

Before the debts and assets can be divided, they must all be determined or discovered. Each marriage is unique in how much each spouse participated in the financial aspects of the marriage. Some spouses are very aware and may only need an exchange of sworn inventory and appraisements or access to some of the documents, while other spouses may have little knowledge of the financial dealings, especially if the other spouse has purposefully hidden the financial dealings. An experienced divorce attorney utilizes many forms of discovery to identify the debts and assets if necessary, so that intelligent decisions can be made regarding the division of property.

Once the debts and assets have been discovered, it is important that debts and assets be correctly identified as community property, separate property, or mixed character property. Characterization is important because only community property will be divided. Even if property is characterized as separate property, there may be reimbursement claims that you do not want to overlook. There also may be constructive fraud and/or actual fraud claims with respect to the community property. An experienced divorce attorney will investigate all the financial dealings, trace your separate property claims, make your spouse prove their separate property claims by clear and convincing evidence, and make sure that the community estate is completely reconstituted before division.

Once the discovery and tracing are complete, it is important that the division of the debts and assets is strategically designed to achieve your financial needs and your post-divorce goals. The court is required to divide the community property in a “just and right” manner. This does not necessarily mean dividing everything equally. There are numerous factors the courts consider in determining what is “just and right” in each case. It is critical that your attorney creates a proposed property division and be able to show why the proposed property division is “just and right” in your particular case.

Property division requires more than knowledge of the law. Robin R. Zegen graduated cum laude from Oklahoma City University with a bachelor’s degree in finance before she obtained her law degree, which gives her the additional expertise to divide property with the aim of achieving strategic goals for her clients. When necessary, Robin R. Zegen adds the appropriate experts to the team to assist with complex property cases, tracing money, tax assessments, business evaluations, preparation of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, and appraisals.

Whether your case is resolved by settlement or litigation, it is important that you hire an attorney that understands the financial aspects of dividing property. It is crucial that your financial needs, both now and in the future, are identified and factored into any proposed property settlement. Robin R. Zegen has the education, training, and experience to evaluate your financial situation, whether your case is a high asset case with complex forms of property or whether you are concerned about how the debts are going to be allocated. Call Robin R. Zegen to schedule a consultation today.