Regardless of whether spouses separate or are divorced, the court will divide the marital assets equitably. This means a fair, but not necessarily equal division of all assets acquired during the marriage. Marital assets include all assets, even if they have a negative value such as credit card debt. When determining which assets make up the marital estate, the court will determine when the asset was acquired by both or one of the parties. If it was acquired after the date of marriage but before a judgment of divorce was entered, then the asset is marital property. However, some assets remain separate property even if acquired during a marriage, such as an inheritance or gifts that were received individually as well as any property owned before the marriage. When determining if the division of assets is equitable, the court will consider the value of each spouse’s separate property, each spouse’s income, the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s conduct during the marriage (meaning adultery, abuse or abandonment) as well as other relevant circumstances.

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