If the spouses cannot agree on how to divide their marital property, the family court will make the decision for them. Marital property usually includes all assets or debts acquired during the marriage, with certain exceptions such as inherited property or gifts from outside the marriage. Your lawyer will advise you on what is considered marital property.

It is helpful for each spouse to provide the lawyer with a list of all assets, when and how these assets were acquired, the approximate value of each asset and any debts either spouse may have. Copies of recent tax returns and insurance policies and estimated monthly living expenses are helpful informa- tion to take when first meeting with the lawyer.

Which spouse has legal title to an item of marital property does not necessarily determine to which spouse the family court will award that property. The court will consider the financial contributions and conditions of the parties, their ages, health, education, fault and the length of the marriage.

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