Division of Assets in a Divorce: Who Gets What?

Lauren Portilloz
by Lauren Portilloz 19 Feb 2021

A difficult issue in a divorce is the division of assets. All couples have more than likely acquired assets during their marriage and now they are divorcing it is time to figure out who gets what. Oklahoma is an equitable distribution state, which means that it will not divide equally, but will divide fairly.

Division of Assets in a Divorce: Who Gets What?

What types of assets are handled in a divorce?

Houses, rental houses, vacation homes, commercial properties, vacant land, vehicles, bank accounts, savings accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, pensions, valuables, jewelry, artwork, household items, such as furniture, appliances, lawnmowers, etc.

Separate Property vs. Marital Property

Property division in Oklahoma must first decide if the property is marital or separate property. Marital property is usually anything that was acquired during the course of the marriage. It does not matter who purchased the property, only that it occurred during the marriage. Separate property includes property acquired by one of the spouses prior to the marriage, property acquired by one of the spouses by gift or inheritance during the marriage, and property acquired in exchange for separate property. The Court must first determine if the property is marital or separate property.

Fair Not Equal

Oklahoma Courts will divide property, assets, and debts fairly based on a number of factors. It could mean that half and half, it could mean that one spouse gets more than 50 percent of the bank account for example, but the other spouse gets the boat.

I have a Retirement Account and Pension benefits, I get to keep this, right?

Generally speaking, if one party has worked for 25 years and the other party was a homemaker for the majority of the marriage, that spouse will be entitled to receive retirement benefits from the other spouse, even if that spouse was the sole contributor. The division is based on the length of the marriage and the potential for the unemployed spouse to gain employment. The Court will make sure that the spouse that cared for the children and the home is not left without a way to care for themselves when they reach retirement.

What are the factors the Court will use to decide who gets what?

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on how to divide marital property, then a Judge will decide. Some Factors include the value of the property, who contributed to what property, sacrifices a spouse made during the marriage, the involvement of the children, how the asset is used, etc. Courts have broad discretion in deciding what is fair and equitable and it is usually best to decide between the spouses.

Alimony

The Court may order alimony for a spouse who shows a need. Alimony may be awarded by money or property. Alimony can be paid in a lump sum or in installments. The Spouse must show a need rationally connected to the marriage and the other spouse has an ability to pay. Courts will look at the recipient’s accustomed mode of living, where the children are living, amount of property division, payor’s age and earning capacity, and the duration of the marriage.

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