Q: How is property divided in a divorce?
A: Courts divide property between divorcing spouses using two different concepts, depending on the state: community property and non-community property. Community property states dictate that each spouse owns an undivided one-half interest in any property acquired during the marriage. Non-community property states, however, take an equitable (fair rather than equal) approach. Typically, property that was owned by one party before the marriage, or given to one spouse as an inheritance or gift at any time, is non-marital property (and not subject to division). Other property that was acquired during the marriage is subject to division. The laws in each state can vary greatly, so it is important to consult an attorney.