You worked hard during your marriage, you deserve a fair and equitable resolution of your property and debt issues. At Culp, Doran & Genest, P.L.C., in Des Moines we will protect your economic interests during divorce, whether your situation is straightforward or complex. Iowa is an equitable distribution state. By law, division of assets and debts is to be fair, but not necessarily equal. While in many cases assets and debt are divided in relatively equal shares, each case is unique and turns on its own facts and circumstances. Equitable distribution is a three-step process:
- Identification of separate and marital property and debt: We will see that all property is correctly identified as separate or marital. Property acquired by either spouse from the date of the marriage until filing for divorce is a marital asset. There are a few important exceptions, including the inheritances and gifts intended for only one spouse and the appreciation on property one spouse brought into the marriage and maintained as separate during that time. Generally, debts incurred by either spouse during the marriage are marital debts unless there is a clear showing otherwise.
- Valuation of marital property: Our attorneys will work with accountants and appraisers to see that all marital assets are accurately valued. This is critical if the marital estate includes interests in a business or professional association, shares in retirement or investment accounts initiated before the marriage and real estate holdings.
- Division of assets and division of debts: During the actual division of property, our family law team will explain how, in light of alimony and other terms being negotiated or decided by the court, certain choices will enhance the overall value of the marital estate and provide more benefit. An important factor to consider is tax liability.
Property inherited by either party or gifts received by either party prior to or during the course of the marriage is the property of that party and is not subject to a property division, except upon a finding that refusal to divide the property is inequitable to the other party or to the children of the marriage. [Based on Iowa Code: Section 598.21]
If you are in the process of selecting a divorce lawyer to advise you on property division, we invite you to email us or call our office at 515-288-3333. One of our lawyers will reply to your email or take your call and, if you are interested, arrange an in-office consultation.