The courts have no authority over non-marital property. So, the first thing the court has to do is determine whether they have authority over property. Generally speaking, all property acquired by either spouse before the marriage is considered non-marital property. All property acquired after the marriage is considered property of the marriage or marital property. If the property is marital property then the court must “equitably” divide the property.
Property Is Presumed To Be Marital Property Except For:
- Property acquired by gift, legacy or descent.
- Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, legacy or descent.
- Property acquired by a spouse after a Judgment of Legal Separation.
- Property excluded by valid agreement of the parties.
- Any judgment or property obtained by judgment awarded to a spouse from the other spouse.
- Property acquired before the marriage.
- The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, or increase or decrease in value of the marital or non-marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or to the family unit.
- The dissipation by each spouse of the marital or non-marital property.
- The value of the property assigned to each spouse.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The economic circumstances of each spouse when the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to live in the home for a reasonable period, to the spouse having custody of the children.
- Any obligation and rights arising from a prior marriage of either party.
- Any post-nuptial agreement of the parties.
- The age, health, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, marketable skills, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties.
- The custodial needs of any children.
- The reasonable opportunity of each spouse for future acquisition of capital assets and income, the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties.