Property division in divorce generally affects only marital property, but some states allow equitable distribution of separate property. Marital property is presumed to be property that is acquired by both or either of the spouses during their marriage. Divorce courts divide marital property according to the classification schemes in controlling statutes or caselaw.
In the divorce context, there is a general presumption that marital property includes property that is acquired by both or either spouse during a marriage and that “divisible property” is acquired after separation but before the parties’ divorce petition is filed.
Divisible property usually is valued by the court at the time of the trial, but marital property usually is valued as of the date of separation.
Some states use the date of separation as the cut-off point for calculating accumulated marital property. Marital property presumptions are not always the deciding factor. Divorce cases can be complex and can present situations and circumstances that differ widely from case to case. The laws provide the basic structure and allow courts some flexibility to deal with unusual circumstances.
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