Distribution of property in a Connecticut divorce
Connecticut’s approach to property division is commonly referred to as an “all-property equitable distribution scheme.” This means that, unlike in other jurisdictions with similar laws, all property, regardless of form or type of ownership, is subject to distribution. In Connecticut, the Superior Court “may assign to either spouse all or any part of the estate of the other spouse.” Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 46b-81(a) (West). For example, just because property is titled in the name of one spouse does not necessarily mean that the property won’t be divided between the spouses pursuant to a dissolution proceeding.
Property to be distributed is not restricted to property acquired during a particular period of time. This is another way in which Connecticut’s property distribution law differs from many other jurisdictions. For example, in some states, only property acquired during the marriage is subject to distribution. In Connecticut, however, there exists no such limitation.
Another way in which Connecticut’s property distribution law differs from many other jurisdictions is that it does not consider the method by which property was acquired. While other jurisdiction may exclude from distribution property received by one spouse by way of gift or inheritance, Connecticut draws no such distinction.
Nothing in the law requires that the marital home be treated differently than other real estate or property. However, when children are involved, the best interests of the children may affect how the marital home is treated. For example, if it is in the best interests of the children that they remain in the marital home, and finances are such that the home does not need to be sold, the court may direct that the custodial parent may stay in the home with the children.
Personal property and other rights
Like real estate, personal property and other rights are subject to division in divorce proceedings. Examples of personal property include motor vehicles, household furnishings and clothing. Other property in which a spouse has an interest include stocks, retirement plans, QDROs, pensions and deferred compensation.
Often, with respect to personal property, courts and lawyers encourage the spouses to work together to distribute these items; however, if they are items of significant monetary or sentimental value, the court may need to intervene.
Speak to a family law attorney
Asset and property division can be both complicated and fraught with emotional conflict. Having these discussions with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney is a good way to protect your interests and ensure a fair and equitable resolution. Contact Lewis, Lewis, & Ferraro, L.L.C., today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Connecticut family law attorney.