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How do South Carolina courts decide how to split marital assets?

The division of marital assets can lead to heated disputes in divorce filings. Understanding how South Carolina family courts divide marital assets can allow divorcing spouses to understand the often stressful legal battle. We will review how the law categorizes marital assets and the factors a family court judge considers when dividing assets. 

What exactly are marital assets?

In a divorce, assets are divided into marital and non-marital property. Marital property includes items bought during a marriage or with shared funds. Non-marital assets include items purchased before a marriage or property given to a spouse as inheritance. Prenuptial agreements and other contracts can exclude specific property from division during a divorce.

Marital property includes many types of assets, including:

  • Debts and financial obligations
  • Cars, motorcycles and other vehicles
  • A family home and investment properties
  • Bank accounts, IRAs and retirement accounts

What decides marital property distribution?

South Carolina is an "equitable division" property state, which means that marital property division does not have to be a 50/50 split. This division can be determined by a family court judge or in negotiations outside of the courtroom. In negotiations, separating spouses must create a marriage settlement agreement which a judge must then approve.

A family court judge weighs many factors to decide asset division, including:

  • The duration of a marriage
  • The total value of the property
  • Both spouses financial contributions to the marriage
  • The income of each spouse

A family law attorney can go over your divorce filing and assess your marital property. Knowing what to expect from your divorce will let you focus on your family instead of stressing about your filing.

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