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Understanding equitable division in Montana

Dividing assets due to divorce is always complicated. In many cases, a prenuptial or postnuptial marital agreement can provide guidance during the divorce process. However, if you do not have such an agreement in place, you will more than likely have to fully adhere to Montana's property division laws. When you have extensive property, such as a ranch or other high value assets, it is important to understand how the state treats marital property during a divorce.

If you are planning to divorce, you should take steps to protect your interests and ensure that you receive a fair settlement. For example, if you and your husband are part owners of his family's generational ranch, chances are likely that his family may not want his ex-wife to continue to participate as an owner. However, obtaining your fair share of the property might prove difficult due to liquidity issues. An experienced attorney in the Billings area can help you with your high-value asset divorce. Read further to learn more about Montana's equitable division laws.

State law

Like many other states, Montana practices the principles of equitable distribution when it comes to dividing marital property. In general, marital property includes any property that you and your spouse acquired during the marriage. Under equitable distribution laws, the court will divide your property based on a complex calculation. For example, the judge will factor in the length of your marriage and the income that each of you contributed in order to calculate a fair division of the property.

Equitable distribution

If you and your spouse are able to reach a settlement that the court considers fair, then you may not need to worry about the court making property division decisions on your behalf. However, if you are unable to reach a settlement, then the court will step in and divide the property according to equitable distribution principles. The court will begin a discovery process in order to identify all the assets and debt you and your husband own. Once it has a complete list of marital property, the court will assign a value to the property and debt. Once this is done, the court will divide the property between the two of you in a way it considers fair.

Contributing factors

The court will examine multiple factors to determine how best to divide the property. For example, the court will more than likely look at the length of your marriage, your ability to earn income, and future opportunities to acquire other assets. Other items the court will consider include your age, occupation, and your physical and mental health.

If you are considering divorce, you should take immediate action to protect your interests.

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