One of the questions most frequently asked of matrimonial attorneys is “What will the court award me in the divorce?” What the court does and does not consider a marital asset, of course, depends upon the circumstances surrounding the asset or property in question. A house purchased and jointly owned by the spouses with each contributing toward the purchase price, paying for the mortgage, and contributing to the maintenance and upkeep throughout the marriage would be considered a marital asset. The value of the house would be subject to distribution by the court where each party could reasonably expect an equal share of any equity in the property.
But what about property acquired by one spouse prior to marriage, through an inheritance, or in some other manner where the contribution to the purchase, maintenance, and value of the property is unequal?
The answer to who is entitled to what amount of such an asset will depend upon the circumstances of the case. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-81 (c) requires the court to consider factors such as length of the marriage, the reason for the annulment, dissolution, preparation; the age, health, station, occupation, amount, and sources of income, earning capacity, debts, and even the ability to acquire more capital, assets, and income in the future. In addition, the court does consider the contribution of each of the parties in the purchase of the asset, its preservation, and its increase in value. And if inherited, how long ago did that event occur? The longer back in time the stronger the case that is now a part of a couple’s assets.
If you have questions about how your property or other assets will be divided in the event of a divorce, annulment, or legal separation, consult with a family lawyer to help you make the decisions that are right for you.