Separating property: Determining who gets what in an Arkansas divorce

Arkansas judges divide marital property in an equitable fashion, carefully considering certain factors before making their decision.

Couples who are going through a divorce in Arkansas may find themselves at odds while attempting to divide martial property that has been accumulated throughout the years. Property division continues to be one of the most difficult issues surrounding divorce. Couples who cannot agree may decide to leave the task of deciding who gets what in the hands of the legal system.

Equitable distribution

Some states in the nation separate all martial property equally in half, regardless of certain factors surrounding the marriage. However, Arkansas code follows an equitable distribution of property model, which takes into account certain details, such as:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The occupation and income of each spouse
  • The contribution each spouse made toward the acquisition of the marital property
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The unique needs of each party
  • Any tax consequences of dividing the property

In Arkansas, it is up to the discretion of the judge presiding over the case to determine the best way to separate the marital property in a way that will benefit everyone involved.

Separate vs. marital property

According to Forbes, not all property is eligible for distribution in a divorce case. Any property or assets that were owned by either party prior to the marriage or acquired after a legal separation is considered separate property. A gift or inheritance received from a third-party is also separate property and will remain with the owner after the divorce is final.

In some cases, separate assets may become marital assets and therefore, eligible for division during a divorce. For example, if a spouse deposits his or her inheritance money in a bank account that is shared with the other spouse, that money may become marital property. Similarly, any property that is retitled to add the other spouse as a co-owner may also become eligible for distribution, depending on the circumstances.

Uncommon marital assets

Not all marital assets are easily identifiable. All investments, stocks and pensions that were accumulated during the course of the marriage are considered distributable. This includes retirement plans, life insurance policies, 401k plans, social security benefits and workers compensation benefits, according to a Forbes report. Other high-priced items, such as art, wine, coin and car collections, as well as patents, memberships, lottery tickets and copyrights are also martial property.

When to involve an attorney

Divorce can be an overwhelming and stressful experience, especially if spouses cannot agree on certain terms of the decree. An attorney may be able to provide essential legal counsel that will help you receive everything you are entitled to in the settlement. During this emotional time, it is vital that you have an established representative who understands Arkansas martial laws.

Keywords: divorce, property, division, equitable