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One of the most contentious issues in a divorce is the distribution of property between the divorcing individuals. Proper mediation in property settlement can prevent costly litigation down the line.
Attorneys John S. Slowiaczek and Virginia A. Albers have represented thousands of clients, helping them resolve family legal issues through litigation, negotiation, and mediation. As such, both attorneys can help you work through conflict to get to a resolution following divorce.
Why choose Slowiaczek Albers & Whelan?
- Attorney Slowiaczek, Past President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is an AAML Certified Mediator who has developed innovative mediation techniques for family law issues.
- Attorney Albers has completed the AAML/Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation and attended a 30-hour program on the theory and practice of conflict resolution techniques.
Equitable Distribution in Nebraska
Nebraska is an equitable distribution state. This means marital property will be split between the spouses in a just and reasonable way determined by the court. The court is only involved in property division when the spouses can't reach an agreement on their own.
Equitable division does not mean it has to be equal, but it must be fair. The decision is based on the complete picture of how each spouse contributed to the marriage and what each will need to move forward.
Throughout the divorce process, the parties will have opportunities to work with each other to decide how the property should be divided. The court will usually accept a written property settlement agreement. This agreement must detail what each spouse will keep and what each will split up. (This agreement can also include plans for alimony, child custody, and child support).
If spouses are unable to reach a compromise, though, the court will step in and divide the property for them.
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John S. Slowiaczek
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Virginia A. Albers
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For 25 years, Virginia has committed herself to family law practice, accumulating a wealth of knowledge and experience to the benefit of her clients and the legal community.
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Marital vs. Non-Marital Property
To determine a fair property division, the court will need to know:
- Which property belongs to the marriage
- Which belongs to the spouses separately
- How much there is of each
By definition, marital property is all property acquired or earned during the marriage. Non-marital property is property owned before marriage. Non-marital property may also include some property that was acquired during marriage, like an inheritance or gift, or any rents or profits a person made off the non-marital property.
The distinction between marital and non-marital property is important because the court divides only the marital property when the marriage ends. Any non-marital property remains in the hands of the spouse who owned it before or during marriage.
Property Divided in Divorce
The most common types of property divided in a divorce proceeding include:
- Real property, like the family home
- Personal property, like jewelry
- Intangible property, like income and pensions.
The court will treat debt the same as any other intangible property. However, the court will need to characterize the debt as marital or non-marital property before it can be divided between spouses based on the same equitable principles.
Factors Determining Property Distribution
The court distributes marital property based on a set of factors that account for the unique circumstances of the marriage and each spouse’s economic condition at divorce.
These factors might include the length of the marriage and the spouses’ monetary and non-monetary contributions (homemaking, childcare). It also will consider what a spouse may have sacrificed for the benefit of the marriage.
For instance, a spouse may have given up their education to work in their spouse’s hardware business or postponed their career to raise the children. In such a case, the court may give them a larger share of the marital assets to adjust for their loss in earning capacity.
Additionally, as with all divorce-related decisions, the court will consider the best interests of the children. If a person has custody of the children, a court might find that their employment opportunities as a single parent will be compromised, so the balance of property could tip in their favor.
The "One-Third to One-Half" Rule
As the court shifts property from one spouse to the other, it is not limited by certain numerical guidelines. However, most of the time the court will award a spouse one-third to one-half of the marital property to achieve an equitable result. Of course, that means that the other spouse could get up to two-thirds of the marital property. Nonetheless, courts refer to this guideline as the “one-third to one-half” rule
Let Slowiaczek Albers & Whelan Help
Our attorneys at Slowiaczek Albers & Whelan will work with you and your attorneys to develop a workable, fair property settlement through mediation. Whether you have a sizeable amount of marital assets or largely non-marital assets, a good lawyer with mediation experience like Attorney John Slowiaczek or Virginia Albers will help you obtain a fair property settlement as you move forward after divorce.
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