It is always important to be aware of the fact that when a marriage falls apart, divorce is usually accompanied by property division, in which case states’ legislation may differ.
In Iowa, for instance, relies on equitable distribution of the marital property, which means that the aim of the court will be to distribute the marital property in an equitable manner, as fair as possible, in case the parties do not agree about another way of distributing it, a manner of their own choice. Another important fact is that separate property , which was acquired before the marriage, such as inheritances or gifts, is not included in the complicated process of property distribution. Such separate property items will remain undivided, with their original owner. Moreover, in some cases, alimony can be awarded to either of the parties. The decision belongs to the judge.
So marital property refers to all the items acquired during the marriage by one spouse or the other. Also, it includes separate items that were brought into the marriage and then converted into marital property. Non- marital property consists of all property that each spouse had before the marriage as well as property acquired individually, but which was never included in the marital property.
The purpose of such laws is to make sure that each spouse gets a share of the common property, equitably. Because property division laws may seem confusing and because they differ from state to state , sometimes quite substantially, it is always best to seek professional advice, in other words, to talk to a lawyer.
It is also good to know that when deciding about property division, the judge will take into consideration the length of the marriage, the spouses’ age and health, the property each of them brought into the marriage as well as other particular circumstances.