Often, the last thing we’re thinking about before we get married is how a court could divide our property in the event of a divorce. But if you live in one of the 40 states without marital or community property laws on the books, it could come down to a judge deciding what is a fair split.
So which states have community property laws and which don’t? And if you’re in a non-community property law state, how do courts decide who gets the couch? Here’s an introduction to marital property laws in Vermont.
Vermont Marital Property Laws
The term "marital property" refers to all possessions and interests acquired by a couple during the period of their marriage, which becomes relevant during divorce proceedings. Just a few states recognize the concept of community property, in which everything is jointly owned. Vermont marital property laws do not recognize community property, which gives the parties more options for how marital property is divided in a divorce.
What Property Can the Court Divide?
Virtually all property is considered to be marital property. For instance, property, which you or your spouse inherits, is considered marital property, and property given to you or your spouse by a family member is also considered marital property. The court can also divide property which either spouse owned before the marriage. It does not matter in whose name the property is held.
How the Court Decides How the Property Should be Divided:
In Vermont the courts generally accept a fair and reasonable property division the parties agree to, but if the parties cannot agree, the Family Court divides the property within the Judgment of Divorce. Vermont is an equitable distribution state. Remember, An "equitable division" of property does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split.
Factors in Equitable Distribution
The court has to look at several factors to determine how the property
should be divided. Those factors are the following:
- The length of the marriage;
- The age and health of the parties;
- The job and source and amount of income of each of the parties;
- The vocational skills and employability of each spouse;
- The contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased
earning power of the other;
- The value of all property interests, liabilities, and needs of each party;
- Whether the property settlement is to be awarded instead of, or in addition
to, spousal maintenance;
- The opportunity of each party to obtain future capital assets and income;
- The desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live there for
reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of the children;
- The party through whom the property was acquired;
- The contribution of each spouse in the acquisition, preservation, and
depreciation or appreciation in value of the respective estates, including the
non monetary contribution of a spouse as a homemaker; and
- The respective merits of the parties. (e.g., whether either party was abusive, or committed adultery, or was an alcoholic).
Learn more about Vermont's marital property laws, and marital property in general, below. See FindLaw's Divorce and Property section for more information.
|Community Property Recognized?
|Dower and Curtesy
Note: Vermont marital property laws are constantly changing--contact a Vermont divorce attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Vermont Marital Property Laws: Related Resources