What constitutes a fair and equitable property division?

If you and your spouse have started thinking about obtaining a South Carolina divorce, one of the main issues you will face is that of dividing up your marital assets and debts in a fair and equitable manner. Unlike a community property state in which divorcing spouses must divide their property 50/50, South Carolina requires only an “equitable division.”

However, what does equitable mean? Unfortunately, no one-size-fits-all definition exists. Consequently, what may represent a fair and equitable division for one couple may not be at all fair and equitable in your situation.

Questions to ask yourself

Before starting to divide up your marital property, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How old are you and your spouse?
  • How healthy are each of you?
  • How much does each of you currently earn?
  • How much will each of you earn in the foreseeable future?
  • What standard of living have the two of you achieved during your marriage?
  • How long has your marriage lasted?

All of these factors come into play in your property division negotiations.

Marital property

Remember, you need consider only your marital property when arriving at a fair and equitable division. The separate property each of you brought into your marriage, as well as the respective gifts or inheritances each of you received during it, remain the separate property of that spouse and form no part of your fair and equitable marital property division.

In other words, marital property includes such things as the following:

  • The amount of money in your checking, savings, brokerage and other cash accounts
  • Your home(s), furniture, vehicles, boats, RVs, antiques, etc.
  • Any rental or investment property you own
  • The money in your respective retirement accounts and/or pension plans
  • The amount of your current debts, including mortgages, credit card debt, car loans, etc.

Arriving at a fair and equitable property division can be a lengthy procedure. Just keep in mind that a judge will need to approve whatever agreement you arrive at.