Little Rock Property Division Lawyers

Representing the Property Rights of Individuals Going through Divorce in Little Rock and the Surrounding Areas

When a married couple decides to get a divorce, one of the issues that needs to be resolved before the divorce can be finalized is the way in which their marital property will be divided between them. The way that a marital estate is divided can have a significant impact on the quality of life and financial well-being of both parties. Consequently, anyone involved in a divorce where property division is at issue should speak to an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that their rights are protected.

Separation of Marital Property

The first matter that must be addressed when it comes to the division of property in divorce is whether property is marital or separate, as only marital property is included in the estate that is to be divided. As a general rule, marital property is property that either party obtained during the marriage, and any property obtained prior the marriage is separate.

Separate property typically includes the following:

  • Premarital property or Family Property
  • Property that the couple agrees to exclude from the marital estate (through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement). However, the law in this area can be very complex.
  • Income derived from separate property during the marriage
  • Property acquired by either spouse after a decree of divorce from bed and board
  • The appreciation of separate property during the marriage
  • Benefits (pain and suffering only) from a personal injury claim, worker’s compensation claim, or Social Security claim when those benefits are for permanent disability or future medical expenses.

Importantly, separate property can be “converted” into marital property under certain circumstances, so it is important to discuss these issues with an attorney if you have any concerns about making sure that separate property remains separate.

Is Arkansas a Community Property State?

No, Arkansas not a community property state where the court divides property 50/50. Instead, Arkansas is an “equitable distribution” state, which is similar to, yet still different from, a “community property” state. This means that the estate will be divided in a way that the court finds “equitable” or fair rather than “equally” as in community property arrangements. The Arkansas property division statute requires courts to divide the marital estate in half between the parties unless the judge finds that a 50-50 split would be inequitable. If this is the case, the court will divide the marital estate as it sees fit, taking the following factors into consideration:

  • How long the couple was married
  • Age, health, and station in life
  • Vocational skills
  • Employability
  • Source and amount of income
  • Their estate, debts, needs, and ability to obtain income and capital assets
  • Each party’s contribution in the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation of marital property, including services as a homemaker
  • The income tax implications of the court’s division of property

How an Attorney Can Help Protect Your Rights

Under Arkansas law, judges have significant discretion when it comes to dividing a marital estate. Whether you are in negotiations or litigating the matter, the strength of your case based on the factors outlined above will have an impact on the percentage of the marital estate you end up with when your divorce is finalized. Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate your circumstances and determine whether any property can be claimed as separate and how the factors that a judge would consider may weigh in your favor.

Call a Little Rock Property Division Attorney Today

At Destiny Law, we provide compassionate and effective family law representation and counsel to individuals who are going through a divorce. We handle all aspects of divorce, including property division, child custody, alimony (maintenance), and child support. To schedule a one-hour consultation with one of our attorneys, contact our office today at 501-372-1200.