Is My Overseas Property Considered For Divorce?

We just spoke to a gentleman a couple of weeks ago who is moving toward divorce and he is concerned because he has a couple of propertied overseas and he doesn’t want them to be included in the marital pot. He doesn’t feel like they should be divided, his family threw in some money to buy these properties and so his question is, are these properties included? Am I going to have to divide these or the equity in these properties with my wife?

All Property Owned By Either Party Is Considered To Be Divided

 According to the leading divorce lawyers in Palo Alto “the way to think about this is that first of all, all property owned by either party regardless of where the property is may be considered for divorce. And so the fact that the property is overseas does not change the analysis.”

Number Of Other Factors

So you have to look at the asset, you have to look at a number of different factors that the court considers in determining how to divide property? So when was the property acquired? How long is the marriage? What were the contributions to the piece of property? And there are a number other factors. But the bottom line is although all property is considered for division that does not mean that all property will be divided. So it really depends on all of these other factors and there are number of them.

But the court takes a look at each case and looks at the specific facts and circumstances of that case and tries to figure out how to fairly divide the property.

And so in some cases all of the overseas property is included and all of that property is shared approximately equally.

So we will give you an example, if there is a 30 year marriage and the overseas property was acquired in the heart of the marriage. And there aren’t any other significant issues that would affect property division. Then in the case like that the court is more likely to divide the equity in those properties approximately equally.

On the other hand if you are talking about a very short term marriage a year, a couple of years let’s say the person acquired these overseas property. These overseas properties years before that there was no marital money put into these properties then in that case it is more likely that although the property is considered for divorce. The court is just going to have the parties go their separate ways with what they have, and not divide the overseas property at all.

Conclusion

So the bottom line is this overseas property is treated just like domestic property is for purposes of property division. And the real key is what are the other specific facts and circumstances of the particular case. And how do they mash with the factors that the court considers in determining how to divide property.

So we can already tell you that length of the marriage is a key consideration. The shorter the marriage the more likely it is that the parties will walk away with their individual property. The longer the marriage the more likely it is that the assets that all of the assets of the marriage will be divided approximately equally.

Again this isn’t black and white, there are nuances, it matters when the property was acquired? What type of funding was used for the property? And a number of other factors but just generally that is probably the most significant factors are length of the marriage. So the bottom line is, it’s case by case and you really have to drill down and look at the factors that the court uses. And match that with the facts in the case to determine how to fairly divide the property.

Sometimes it’s not divided at all and the person who has the property overseas just keeps it, sometimes it’s divided the property approximately equally, and sometimes it’s somewhere in the middle.  

Martin

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