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What happens to family property when spouses separate?

Do you want to know what happens to family property when spouses separate? Are you searching for the roles of a family law attorney in the division of family property during separation? Do not search further; read this write-up to the end to know how family property is handled or shared during separation.

What happens to family property when spouses separate?

It is important to know that when spouses separate, the property needs to be shared between the spouses. Meanwhile, it should be noted that the rule about the division of property applies to both married couples and unmarried couples who have lived together like in a marriage relationship for at least two years. Even if you are not married officially but have lived together for at least two years as if in a marriage, the property will be shared when you are separating. 

Properties are usually categorized into the family property and excluded property. All family property will be shared equally when spouses separate except if there is an agreement that states contrary to the provision of the law. 

Family property refers to all the properties that both spouses owned separately or jointly on the date of separation, irrespective of whose name is on the property. The properties include items, such as the family home, bank accounts, investments, insurance policies, pensions, and an interest in a business.

Properties not classified as family property are excluded from the rule of equal division of property. Excluded property includes the property owned by one spouse before the relationship started, gifts and inheritances given to one spouse during the relationship, and damage awards or insurance proceeds. Meanwhile, if the value of the excluded property increases during the relationship, the increase in value will be shared equally. 

It may be challenging to resolve the division of property without knowing what the law autorotate stipulates. Given this, hiring a family law attorney will help resolve the issue peacefully if the spouses cannot agree to share the property without argument. 

It should be kept in mind that excluded property may not be shared at all in most cases. However, the court may decide to share excluded property equally to allow each spouse to get a fair share of the property.

Family property may be divided unequally between spouses. This decision can only come at the court’s discretion when it would be significantly unfair to share such property equally. In this case, the court will consider different factors as may have been presented by a family law attorney representing any of the spouses. The court can then decide if the property or debt should be shared unequally.


When you are going through separation or divorce, it would help to choose an experienced family law attorney to help present your matters before the court to get the best outcomes that will make you happy.