The parties usually arrive at a settlement of their property rights. If the parties do not reach a settlement, the court will decide the matter after a trial.

You must be absolutely sure that you understand and accept the settlement as written or placed on the record in open court, because property settlements are not modifiable, except in cases of fraud, clerical error, mistake, or gross unfairness in the initial trial. If your property includes retirement or pension plans, your attorney can explain your rights under the qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) procedures.

In determining property issues, the court will usually consider the following:

  1. The length of the marriage
  2. Contributions of the parties to the marital estate
  3. The age of the parties
  4. The health of the parties
  5. Others the parties are supporting
  6. Necessities and circumstances of the parties
  7. Earning abilities of the parties
  8. Past relations and conduct of the parties (fault)
  9. General principles of equity

Generally, property of the marriage is divided fifty-fifty.

Property settlements in judgments may be enforced by execution, garnishment, show cause proceedings, etc. Your attorney can explain these procedures.