Divorce involves not just the end of a relationship but also the end of a shared financial life together. During the process, parties need to divide property equally, including property which may be in both partners’ names.
How Division of Assets Works in South Carolina
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How marital assets are divided is determined by state courts, and states have two main ways of tackling this question. States with equitable distribution laws allow both parties the right to all property and assets acquired during the marriage. States with community property laws allow spouses to claim some property as their own, some as separate property and some as marital property which can be divided.
South Carolina is a state with equitable distribution laws. All personal and real estate property accumulated by the parties during the marriage and is owned when the filing for divorce takes place is considered marital property and is to be divided equally. This includes property which is “officially” only in one party’s name.
How Is Property Divided in a Divorce in South Carolina?
South Carolina courts divide marital property according to standards of fairness. Judges take into consideration many factors, including:
- The marital property and assets and their value
- The ages of the parties at the time of marriage and at the time of divorce
- The length of the union
- The mental and physical condition of each spouse
- The financial status and possible future income of each spouse
- Misconduct demonstrated by either party
- The non-marital property of each spouse
- Contributions each spouse made to the marital property
- Any obligations stemming from children
- Tax implications for both parties
- Whether the house (if there is a house) should remain with one spouse or should be sold
- Any debts, which are also divided equally
Based on these and other relevant factors, a judge will determine how the property is to be divided. It is important to note that the judge will only divide marital assets. Non-marital assets remain with the spouse who owns that property. Non-marital assets include:
- Inheritances and bequests made to one spouse only during the marriage
- Money and property acquired before the marriage started
- Any property excluded from marital assets by a prenuptial or other written contract
With these factors, the division of assets for high-net-worth individuals can present additional challenges. High-net-worth persons may have prenups in place, or complex estate plans, and may have earned money and property before their marriage. However, if a spouse can prove they contributed to the appreciation in value of those properties, they may be able to secure some of the assets.
In addition, some spouses choose to challenge prenuptial agreements. In situations involving large amounts of property or assets, it is important to consult with a qualified family law attorney.
Understanding Property Rights in a Divorce
If you want to know more about your property rights in a divorce, the Lauren Taylor Law blog has resources to help you. If you need representation during a divorce, you can contact us at Lauren Taylor Law or call us at 843-790-9009 to schedule a consultation.
South Carolina divorce attorney Lauren Taylor practices family law in Charleston and Greenville. She graduated from the Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing for more than ten years.
Since the firm’s inception in 2012, Mrs. Taylor has helped hundreds of people navigate the uncertainties surrounding the family and criminal court process.
She has cultivated a team that ensures each case has a strategy crafted specifically to the clients needs and desires.
Her commitment to top notch service has led her to open two additional offices in the low country where she now resides with her husband Michael and her golden retriever, Buster.