Equitable Does Not Mean Equal

“Just and equitable division of property in divorce action is just as likely not to be equal.”

Root v. Root, 65 P.3d 41 (Wyo. 2003)

Many divorces face the issue of property division. This can be an expensive and daunting undertaking. Taking accurate note of your assets and debts can greatly assist in the division.

While the court does its best to ensure that each party receives an equal share of the community property’s assets and debts, sometimes that is not entirely possible. On many occasions, parties will agree on a less than equal division in the interest of compromise. And on other occasions, the court will order an equalization payment to be made to the spouse receiving the smaller share of the assets or by giving the spouse with the larger share of assets a larger share of the debts.

Of course, the court prefers that the parties come to an agreement without court intervention if possible and will typically approve any such agreement. Assets and debts acquired from the date of marriage to the date of separation are presumed to be community and are subject to division. Some assets, such as inheritances or gifts, and some debts, such as student loans, although acquired during the marriage are not presumed to be community.

Often, an attorney is needed to help sort out what is and is not presumed to be community property. In instances where there are businesses, investments, or multiple properties, having a professional accountant determine each party’s respective share is necessary.

This is another instance where having experienced legal assistance can make all the difference in ensuring a fair property division.

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