Dividing Assets

Published: 20 November 2015

In a divorce, what was once called “ours” splits into “his” and “hers.” While you can easily agree not to live together, what will happen to the things you’ve worked so hard to acquire? Dividing the marital assets can be one of the most difficult tasks faced by divorcing couples. But, if you and your soon-to-be ex can agree on dividing some of the most commonly contested assets, you may enable the divorce go a little more smoothly. Make sure to use a qualified divorce attorney to help make sure you are not left behind when it comes to the asset distribution during the divorce proceedings.

Property Disbursement During Divorce

Note: The following is an overview of Kansas property/asset laws during divorce proceedings. It is general information only and not legal advice. Each and every situation is different and you will need to call one of our local divorce attorneys for advice about what to do in your unique situation.

PROPERTY DIVISION: During your divorce proceedings Kansas statute directs that “the decree shall divide the real and personal property of the parties, including any retirement and pension plans, whether owned by either spouse prior to marriage, acquired by either spouse in the spouse’s own right after marriage or acquired by the spouses’ joint efforts, by: (A) a division of the property in kind; (B) awarding the property or part of the property to one of the spouses and requiring the other to pay a just and proper sum or (C) ordering a sale of the property, under conditions prescribed by the court, and dividing the proceeds of the sale.” All of the assets and debts owned by the parties, individually or jointly, at the time the divorce is filed comprise the “marital estate.” The court is required to make an equitable division of the marital estate, which does not necessarily mean an “equal” division. Although the court will generally award each party the separate property he or she owned prior to marriage and divide that property acquired during the marriage, it is possible that separate property will be included in the court’s division. Division of debt is treated in the same manner. If one party brought debt into the marriage, that debt may be carved out of the debt pool and awarded to the originating party. Generally, joint debt accumulated during the marriage will be divided between the parties. It is important to be aware that one party’s status as the primary wage earner during the marriage will not result in an unequal division of the marital estate. Your qualified divorce attorney will be able to help with the negotiation and appeals process during the divorce proceedings.

PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT: The parties can take the division of their marital estate out of the hands of the court by entering into their own property settlement agreement, also referred to as a marital settlement agreement. This written agreement can be a separate document, or it can be incorporated into the Journal Entry of Judgement and Decree of Divorce. The property settlement agreement will be reviewed by the court, and it will be approved if the court finds it to be just, fair, and equitable. The agreement must include enough details for the court to make such a finding. Once approved by the court, property settlement agreements are generally not review-able or modifiable by the court, except in limited circumstances.

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