You have divorce on the brain. You know you want to do it, but you have concerns about how everything will shake out. What you end up walking away with as far as your assets go can significantly impact how you move forward. That is why it is good to know what South Dakota property division laws are and how they apply to your case before you get too far into the dissolution process.
When it comes to property division, some states go by the community property principle, and others believe in equitable distribution. South Dakota is an equitable distribution state. What exactly does that mean?
Equitable distribution basics
When you hear the words “equitable distribution,” a 50/50 split probably comes to mind. Many people believe that all assets should be evenly divided down the middle. In most cases, that is not how things work out though. Equitable distribution simply means each party should walk away with a fair share, but there are no set guidelines for how they are to reach that outcome. It could end up looking like:
- One spouse gets the house while the other gets retirement or other account funds.
- Both spouses agree to sell everything and split the proceeds.
- Each spouse walks away with what he or she brought into the marriage.
- One spouse keeps the family business and buys the other one out.
- The spouses split debt down the middle, have one spouse take ownership of the debt or agree to both spouses taking ownership of their own debt.
The list can go on. There are countless ways to work out a property division settlement so that each spouse receives what he or she believes to be a fair share of the marital assets.
What is the court’s role in property division?
Ideally, divorcing spouses work out the agreement in private, with the assistance of legal counsel, in mediation or through collaborative divorce efforts. When both parties engage in the process, each is likely to be happier with the outcome than if the court were to get involved. If you and your spouse reach terms with which you are satisfied, it does have to go to a judge for approval before the divorce is officially finalized. In cases where spouses cannot agree to terms, the court will get to decide settlement terms.
Get what you deserve
No one should have to walk away from their marriage with less than they deserve. With assistance, you can be sure the property division settlement you receive is the best it can be.