Vermont Property Division Factors
In Vermont, the property and debt issues are typically settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award is actually order and decreed by the Family Court within the Decree of Divorce.
Vermont is referred to as an "equitable distribution" state. When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the Family Court will take the following approach to dividing the assets; First, it will go through a discovery process to classify which property and debt is to be considered marital. Next, it will assign a monetary value on the marital property and debt. Last, it will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is deemed by the Family Court to be fair.
The court may consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to: (A) the duration of the marriage; (B) the age and health condition of the parties; (C) the occupation, source and amount of income of each of the parties; (D) vocational skills and employability; (E) the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other; (F) the value of all property interests, liabilities, and needs of each party; (G) whether the property settlement is in lieu of or in addition to maintenance; (H) the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income; (I) the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live there for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of the children; (J) the party through whom the property was acquired; (K) the contribution of each spouse in the acquisition of the marital property (L) the respective merits of the parties. (Vermont Statutes - Title 15 - Section 751)
Since Vermont is an "Equitable Distribution" state, all marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses. What does "equitable" mean? Equitable can be defined as "what is fair, not necessarily equal." To automatically believe the marital property would be divided 50-50 would be a wrong assumption in any equitable distribution state. You can also read more about Vermont property division in the Vermont state statutes located at: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/.
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