Upon the request of either party in a divorce action , a court shall divide, distribute or assign, the marital property between the parties without regard to marital misconduct in such percentages and in a manner that the court deems proper. In dividing marital property, which is defined as property acquired during the marriage, the court will consider the following factors:
(1) The length of the marriage;
(2) Any prior marriages of either party;
(3) The age, health, income , vocational skills, estate, employability and needs of each party;
(4) The contribution of one party to the education, training or increased earning capacity of the other ;
(5) The possibility of each party for future acquisition of assets and income;
(6) Income of both parties, including medical, insurance and retirement benefits;
(7) The contribution of each party to the acquisition of marital property;
(8) The value of personal property for each party;
(9) The standard of living created during the marriage;
(10) The circumstances of each party at the time of equitable distribution; and
(11) Whether the party will be the custodian of any minor child.
The court has broad based power to effect equitable distribution of the marital assets including the entry of a judgment against a non-complying spouse.
Many people avoid the necessity of having a court divide their property by entering into a marital settlement agreement, which should be incorporated into the divorce decree.
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