Anyone who is getting divorced in the Charleston area should know that South Carolina is an equitable distribution state. What that means is that all marital property will be divided between the spouses in a divorce case in a way that the court decides is fair to both of the spouses. There are various factors that courts consider when deciding what an equitable distribution of marital property looks like. At the same time, you should know that only marital assets are divided, and separate property is not subject to division. Property division can be complicated, especially when you have complex assets or especially high-value assets. What should you know about property division in your divorce? Consider the following information from our Charleston property division lawyers.
South Carolina Divorces Use the Equitable Distribution Rule
South Carolina is an equitable distribution state. When a couple gets divorced in South Carolina, the state’s equitable distribution law applies to marital property. As such, you should expect that all marital assets and debts will be divided between the spouses equitably. You should know that “equitable” distribution does not mean “equal” distribution. Although some equitable distributions end up being 50/50 distributions, this is not what South Carolina law requires. Instead, courts consider different factors to determine how a division of marital property would be fair to both spouses given the specific circumstances of their marriage and divorce.
Equitable Distribution is Decided on a Case-by-Case Basis
Equitable distribution of marital property is always decided on a case-by-case basis. This means the court will look at various factors in relation to the marriage and the divorce, and then it will divide property accordingly. Some of the factors the court might consider include but are not limited to: length of the marriage, current income and earning capacity of each spouse, physical and emotional health of each spouse, each spouse’s non-marital assets and debts, and misconduct by either spouse.
Property Includes Assets and Debts
When courts talk about property in a divorce, you should know that they mean both assets and debts. Accordingly, assets and debts are divided in a divorce.
Property Will Be Classified as Non-Marital (Separate) Property and Marital Property
Only marital property is divided in a divorce, while spouses can keep all non-marital or separate property. How do courts classify property as marital or non-marital? In general, any assets or debts that one of the spouses acquired or accrued before the marriage will be non-marital property and will not be divided. Most assets and debts acquired or accrued after the date of the marriage will be marital property and will be distributed between the parties. Some exceptions include third-party gifts during the marriage, inheritances during the marriage, and personal injury recoveries during the marriage — these assets are all usually classified as non-marital property and are not subject to division.
Contact a Charleston Divorce Lawyer
Our experienced Charleston divorce lawyers can answer any questions you have about classifying marital and non-marital property, and about the process of equitable distribution in South Carolina. Contact The Peck Law Firm online or give us a call at 843-631-7117 for more information.