Friday, April 2, 2010

What Divorce Law is Doing to Marriage Part 6

Chapter 2 is called Equitable Distribution

Each state has a different definition of what Equitable means.

“In some states, all your property is distributable to your ex, even property before marriage.”

“Most states, however, allow for two categories of property: marital and non-marital. You can keep your non-marital property. The court will only distribute your non-marital property.” Usually non-marital property is acquired before a marriage and marital property is acquired during a marriage.”

“Your salary is marital property, even though only your work, and not your wife’s, produced it.”

“The State has decreed that you are not allowed during marriage to create personal wealth – formerly known as private property – unless your wife agrees. Your wife is your silent partner, and the State is your silent administrator, by law.”

“The bottom line of this marital property presumption is that the court will seek to decree as much of your property as possible to be marital.”

“Equitable distribution statues can be vague. They don’t always tell you what “property” means. They leave it to the courts to decide, after the fact, whether assets such as your pension, your business goodwill, your unexercised stock options, even your academic degrees, professional certificates and trade licenses, are the kind of “property” covered by the law.” In other words Feminazi and PAM judges will decide for you what is considered to be “property”.

“The statutes also don’t always tell you what “non-marital” means.

Your ex will start to acquire invisible ownership in your property the moment you marry.

If you purchase your house with the intent of it being used as the marital home your ex will have invisible ownership.

“Once your property has become marital, it will stay marital, at least until you separate. In many states, the magical moment cast its spell well after you separate and until you actually divorce. In these states, the law stoutly insists that your personal effort-your salary, your business profit-is for the ongoing benefit of your wife even after she has already separated from you, even after she has filed divorce against you.” Your wife remains your silent partner even after she has informed you-not so silently-that you are no longer her partner.”

“You may also trigger this drastic result by nonchalantly upgrading your non-marital three-flat with some well-meant personal effort (marital property.)”

“You might think it is reasonable that if your non-marital three-flat can be transmuted into marital property, then it can somehow be transmuted back into non-marital property.
Reasonable, but not under equity distribution.”

Another excerpt

Say you used funds from your non-marital bank account to improve the transmuted – and now marital – three flat. The court will not presume you intended to transmute back the three-flat into your non marital property. Your ex will claim that your non-marital funds to the marital estate. You’ll have to prove to the court you didn’t. Your sworn testimony may not be used enough. It may be considered self-serving.

Another excerpt

You might also think it reasonable that if your ex shares any gain in the value of your non-marital property due to your personal effort, she should also share any loss.

Reasonable, but not so under equitable distribution.

Say you traded commodities with your non-marital inheritance and you ended up with lemons. The court won’t order your ex to share the loss. Bitter lemons.

Same even if she trades with your inheritance.

Equitable distribution requires you to keep detailed records. Without them, you may not be able to rebut the strong presumption that all the property you acquired during marriage is material.

More on chapter 2 – Equitable Distribution in Practice on the next summary.