Going through a divorce is already stressful for both parties, and property division can be a factor that adds even more. Couples that choose to go through with a divorce are encouraged to become familiar with their state’s laws and guidelines as every state differs. Whether you and your spouse decide to navigate property division on your own or with the help of a family law and divorce lawyer, familiarizing yourself with the process is the first step to a successful division of property.
Different Types of Divorce
Becoming familiar with the different types of divorce is helpful if you and your spouse have decided to take this step. Regardless of your situation, it’s essential to consider whether you and your spouse are willing to work together to reach a settlement or if frequent disagreements occur when working toward a resolution. Depending on your unique case, hiring a family law and divorce lawyer, mediator, or going to court may be more effective than trying to resolve the divorce on your own.
- Uncontested: You and your spouse work as a team to agree on the terms of your divorce and file court papers to make the divorce happen. There is no formal trial in an uncontested divorce, and it is unlikely that you or your spouse will be required to appear in court.
- Default: A divorce is granted by “default” if you file for divorce and your spouse doesn’t respond.
- Fault and No-Fault: In the past, one spouse has the opportunity to show that the other spouse was at fault for the marriage breaking down. Today, all states offer the option of “no-fault” divorce, which tells the court that both spouses are in agreement and have irreconcilable differences regarding the matter.
- Mediated: A neutral third party will sit down with you and your spouse to help resolve all issues in your divorce. A mediator is there to help you and your spouse communicate appropriately until an agreement is reached.
- Collaborative: Both spouses have lawyers, but instead of working separately, they work cooperatively to reach an agreement to settle your case. Both spouses agree to disclose any information that’s necessary to reach a fair negotiation.
- Arbitration: A private judge is hired to handle your divorce settlement to make the same decisions that a judge could make.
- Contested: If you and your spouse have a challenging time reaching an agreement about property or child custody, it’s beneficial to get a lawyer to help you. A lawyer will help you with a contested divorce, which consists of exchanging information, settlement negotiations, hearings, and possibly a court trial.
What Type of Property You Own
Each state varies in how property is divided in a divorce, and it’s encouraged for couples to be knowledgeable of the laws the state they reside in follows. If a lawyer is assigned to your case, he or she will be able to provide guidance on how your state completes division. Commonly, if you and your spouse have a large estate, it’s encouraged to hire an attorney to help you with a high-asset divorce. When navigating a divorce, there are two types of property that the court considers during property division.
- Non-Marital Property: This property belongs to only one spouse and is likely something one party owned before getting married. Gifts and inheritances or pensions vested before the marriage are also categorized as separate property.
- Marital Property: This property includes everything that both spouses have earned or acquired for their marriage duration. Paychecks from employment deposited into a joint account fall into this category, and typically homes do as well, especially if it was purchased with a combination of separate and community funds.
The State Where You Reside
Each state follows different guidelines as to how the courts divide property in a divorce. It’s essential for couples going through a divorce to become familiar with laws the state they reside in follows. This will help prepare you for what’s to come and alleviate any areas of uncertainty.
- Community Property: The state you’re located in will depend on how marital property is classified. In some states, marital property is considered either community or separate. Community property is commonly divided between spouses, with each spouse getting to keep their separate property.
- Equitable Distribution: If a state doesn’t classify the property as community or separate, it likely follows equitable distribution. This is when all assets and earnings accumulated during a marriage are divided fairly. The division may not be equal, meaning one spouse could get the house, and the other spouse would receive money for their portion of the house.
Dividing Property Yourselves
At times, couples going through a divorce choose to divide their property without the assistance of a lawyer or judge. This is specifically applicable when the couple getting a divorce can reach an agreement without guidance from a third party. In the circumstance that you and your spouse decide to divide property yourself, there are several steps that can guide you through the property division process and make it run smoothly.
- Make a list. Take time to work together and make a list of all community property. This will help you, and your spouse identify which items you want categorized as joint-owned versus separate.
- Identify the value. Once you’ve created your list of joint-owned and separate items, it’s encouraged to agree on each item’s value. Being transparent about the value of the property will allow you to split your property fairly.
- Choose an owner. After identifying each item’s worth, the next step is going through your list of joint-owned items and determining who gets what. It’s essential to take your time on this portion of the property division so that you can be sure items are divided equally. Start with the items of most significant value and make your way down the list.
- Get approval from a judge. If you and your spouse can work together and agree on dividing property evenly, the judge will likely approve whatever agreement you have decided on. There are instances where the judge won’t approve or will have questions, especially if one spouse ends up with significantly less than the other.
Contact a Family Law and Divorce Lawyer Today
Divorce can be a stressful, emotional time for all involved, and property division can add to this stress if not properly managed. Every state differs in its laws and guidelines for property division during divorce, making it essential that couples familiarize themselves or get guidance from a professional. Whether you’ve chosen to navigate property division with assistance from a family law and divorce lawyer or have decided to divide the property on your own, there are many resources available. Contact a family law and divorce lawyer today to get started on your property division.Read More
Following a car accident, it can be challenging to get your bearing and figure out the necessary steps you need to take. Sure, the initial 911 call, identifying any damages on your car, and collecting insurance info are all givens — but there’s a laundry list of to-dos that unfortunately get forgotten in the hours or days following an accident.
For personal injury lawyers like us, we take these matters seriously and want victims of car accidents to know how to proceed after a car accident. Having a helpful step-by-step guide to remind yourself how to handle the days and weeks after an accident can be helpful — so we’ve created a simple list that should help keep your affairs in order.
What To Do RIGHT After a Car Accident
While it’s certainly easier said than done, immediately following a crash, there are important steps to take. Your head may be whirling, and your mind will surely be racing, but here are some quick tips to keep everyone safe and accountable after a car accident.
Just remember S.E.A.M. It’s a quick and easy acronym to remember what you should do if you’re involved in an accident.
You’ll want to make sure that you or any other passengers in your vehicle are safe and accounted for. Move your vehicle to the side of the road and out of direct traffic. If your vehicle is unable to be moved, keep your seatbelt on and turn on hazards until help arrives. Removing your seatbelt is often the first mistake, and slippery roads or inattentive drivers may cause further crashes to occur — so keep your safety precautions on.
Dial 911 and wait for police and emergency services to arrive to the scene. They will handle road flares or signals to prevent through-traffic from creating further damage. During an accident on a public road or highway, always notify police so that you can gather a police report that can later be used if needed.
The next step is to exchange your name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate, and insurance information with the others involved. There’s no need to discuss or review the details of the accident — as you may end up making statements that unintentionally incriminate yourself.
This can be one of the most difficult steps, especially for those who have never been in an accident. There’s no need to discuss who is at fault with the other party. Speculation will fly, and fingers will be pointed, but do your best to stay out of the conversation and simply exchange information. Law enforcement will make an objective assessment as to the causes or contributing factors of the accident.
Account for Everything
Most of us are fortunate enough to have a smartphone on us at all times. These are a perfect way to capture the damage and make a note of anything that may have caused the accident. Car accidents can be a jarring experience, and our memory can be easily led astray in the hours after a crash. It’s important to write down everything you can remember about the road conditions and weather conditions, if their lights were on, or any other details that may have contributed to the accident.
Use your camera to snap photos of damages to both your car and theirs. If there are witnesses around, gather their information as they can be a saving grace down the road.
Make a Doctor’s Appointment
If it’s a minor fender bender and there are no injuries whatsoever, you may just exchange information. However, if there are any injuries, even minor soreness — schedule a doctor’s appointment immediately. In the event of serious injuries, you will likely be transported via ambulance to an emergency room.
There could be underlying issues or medical problems that grow increasingly worse over the coming weeks or months, and you’ll want not only to be healthy — but have proper documentation. Many neck and back injuries don’t present themselves right away, so in the days following an accident, keep an eye on how your body is feeling and make an appointment right away if you notice any issues.
If the other party is at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain, suffering, or lost wages due to the accident. However, timely medical evaluation is a necessity in order to get the compensation you deserve.
Over the Next Few Days
The days following a car accident can be frustrating. Your car may be in bad shape or even worse, your health. If there are any injury concerns, you must contact a trusted personal injury attorney. They’ll help evaluate your situation and potential legal case at absolutely no risk to you. If you decide to hire their services, they’ll investigate your case and manage all of the complexities associated with a personal injury lawsuit — along with handling the insurance company communications.
Injuries associated with a car accident can be incredibly stressful and even traumatizing. Having an experienced legal team by your side can give you peace of mind going forward. As we said previously, a prompt medical evaluation is critical during this step. Your symptoms may ebb and flow, but your physician needs to be informed about any changes to your health status. Pain, dizziness, fatigue, numbness, or any other signs of health problems are all important factors in a personal injury lawsuit. So, keep a close eye on your health over the coming days and weeks.
We’re Here to Help
At Cline Jensen, PLLC., we’ve worked with hundreds of clients who have experienced car accidents and needed our help to seek compensation. We understand how difficult the process can be, and we take every opportunity to advocate for our clients and handle injury victims with respect and care.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident and require legal assistance, we can help. We’ll be by your side every step of the way to ensure that your case is a priority.Read More