Division of property in divorce can be one of the most complicated parts of ending a marriage. Ownership suddenly becomes a big issue. Is the property marital or nonmarital? If I owned it before we got married, do we both own it now? The lawyers at Temple & Mann in Greenville can help. We'll find ways to resolve the issues.
Marital, Nonmarital And Transmuted Property
Property acquired during the marriage is marital property regardless of whose name is on the deed or sales agreement or who paid for it. Property that you owned before you were married may be considered nonmarital property if you did not do anything to transmute the property. If, however, you had $100 in a savings account, put it in another account and added your wife's name to it, the property becomes "transmuted" or transformed into marital property. Annuities and life insurance are often transmuted.
South Carolina statutes list several factors that the court looks at when making property division decisions. The overriding factor is how each spouse contributed to the acquisition and maintenance of assets. For example, one spouse made the mortgage payments on the house and the other made an indirect contribution by taking care of the children, keeping the finance records and hosting parties for business associates. A Greenville property division lawyer can help you untangle the knots.
Don't Lose Your Retirement Benefits
The waters get muddier when retirement benefits are taken into account. Both of you may have a 401(k) through your employer, but that doesn't mean you can pick up your account and walk away with it. In an equitable distribution state like South Carolina, your retirement savings may have to be shared with your ex-spouse.
Tax consequences may require you to look at different options. Qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) transfer assets out of retirement savings with no tax consequences. These can be tricky and are best handled by an attorney who has experience in the tax arena.
Other Property To Divide
Property division has so many ways to ensnare an unsuspecting spouse. If you have rental property such as a beachside condo, you may get hit with capital gains tax when you sell it.
Courts hesitate to force the sale of a business, but if you have to buy out your spouse's share, it could affect alimony payments. We hire expert appraisers for real estate and business valuation to give you a clear picture of what your property is worth.
If you have questions regarding division of property in divorce, contact us.