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Can My Spouse Take Everything in the Divorce?

The short answer is simple: no. Contrary to what you may hear, or what you may think, your spouse cannot take everything you own in a divorce. As a whole, our society throws around phrases like “she took him to the cleaners,” or “she bled him dry,” but those statements are far from the truth. In reality, Connecticut courts follow equitable distribution laws when dividing marital property upon divorce. The statute states:

“At the time of entering a decree annulling or dissolving a marriage or for legal separation pursuant to a complaint under section 46b-45, the Superior Court may assign to either the husband or wife all or any part of the estate of the other.” CONN. GEN. STAT § 46b-81(a)

But no court awards all of one spouse’s property to another because the court must follow certain factors and considerations when deciding who gets what. Before such factors are even considered, the couple’s property is first classified to determine which property is even eligible for division. Such classification involves the court determining whether the asset was earned prior to or subsequent to the date of marriage to determine whether the asset is marital property. To simplify, usually property owned before marriage is not subject to division but anything acquired during the marriage is.

Once the property is classified, then the court will apply a bunch of equitable factors to determine who gets what property. For instance, in Connecticut, equitable distribution of property “should take into consideration the plaintiff’s contributions to the marriage, including homemaking activities and primary care taking responsibilities. . . and that a determination of each spouses’ contribution includes non-monetary as well as monetary contributions.” O’Neill v. O’Neill, 13 Conn. App. 311.

Such factors are also considered alongside the length of the marriage, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties and the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income. C.G.S.A. 46b-81 (c).

These steps the court must take before dividing property upon divorce ensures no one gets “hosed” or “cleaned out” upon divorce. While one spouse may end up feeling one of those ways, the actual distribution is never the ultimate reason why.

If you or someone you know is preparing for a divorce, or needs representation for divorce, feel free to call one of the experienced divorce attorneys at Maya Murphy, PC today. Our attorneys have decades of experience with divorce and family issues in both Connecticut and New York including child custody disputes, high asset divorce, alimony modifications and divorce mediation. Feel free to call 203-222-MAYA or email Ask@mayalaw.com to schedule a consultation today!

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