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How Long Must a Marriage Last in Order to Claim a Portion of a Spouse’s Assets in a Divorce?

When a couple files for divorce, one of the things that the courts will determine is equitable distribution. That term covers how the marital assets are divided between one spouse and another when they split. Separate property that was owned by one spouse or the other before the marriage will not be considered a marital asset. That means if one spouse owns something outright, the other spouse does not have any immediate rights to it or to a portion of its value during a divorce. There is often some dispute about what constitutes marital property and what constitutes solely-owned property. That will be a matter for your attorney to argue and the courts to decide.

Once you establish your own financial need, you’ll have to demonstrate that your spouse does have the means to help with the legal costs of your divorce. Pay stubs, tax records and other documents will be required to prove the spouse’s ability to pay.

If you are worried about how you will pay for your family law representation, make sure it’s one of the first things you discuss with your lawyer. You can file for reimbursement for legal costs, but in many cases it’s hard to get, unless there is a clear and convincing gap in financial power between one spouse and the other. Still, it’s important to have the best counsel available during a divorce, especially if children are involved. You don’t want to go without sound representation just because you’re worried about money and how you’ll pay for it.

This post was written by David Hurvitz. Follow David on Google+.