Property Division Lawyers Summerville
Resolving Property Disputes on Behalf of Clients in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley Counties
Ending a marriage often involves the division of assets and debts accumulated during the relationship. If spouses cannot reach a property settlement agreement on their own, the court will divide the marital property and debts according to the principle of equitable distribution.
Marital vs. Non-Marital Property
South Carolina has laws that determine what is and is not considered marital property. Those determinations can be altered by a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement executed by a couple. As a general rule, marital property includes all property or assets accumulated during the course of a marriage.
Despite what many clients have heard, this also involves property gained individually, not just as a couple. Marital property generally includes:
- Retirement accounts
- Cash on hand
- Anything else owned by the couple
Meanwhile, non-marital property is not subject to divorce litigation and includes any asset or income accumulated by a person before the marriage that has been solely owned or kept in that person’s name. To complicate matters further, even though property may be considered separate, a court may still consider the increase in value of the separate property to be part of the marital estate.
How Do Courts Divide Property?
If the court must divide property, it will consider the following factors:
- The length of the marriage
- The source of the property
- The party’s needs
- Each parties' earning ability
- The needs of any children
- Each party's contribution towards the acquisition of the property
In South Carolina, the cause of the divorce is also considered. As a result of these factors, it is a mistake for couples to assume they will each receive one-half of the marital assets.
What Happens to a Couple’s Debt?
Just like assets, debts will be designated as either marital or non-marital and are part of the equitable distribution process. Most debts acquired during the marriage will be considered marital debt regardless of whose name they are in. Debt incurred before the marriage is likely separate property. However, there are exceptions to both of these rules.
Call Our Legal Team in Summerville Today
Our experienced lawyers understand that property and debt division can be a contentious issue when couples divorce or separate. PMC Law Firm has the tools and skills to handle everything from complex, high-value property settlements to cases involving significant debts. Whether you have questions about rights under equitable division laws or you are considering a divorce, we can devise a custom legal strategy tailored to your unique situation.
Call us today at (800) 914-0620 to schedule your case consultation so we can provide you with information specific to your case and empower you to make the best decisions! Our team in Summerville is here to serve you.
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