How Will Assets Be Divided in My Divorce?

By Kevin J. Daken, Partner, Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, P.C.

Divorcing in Connecticut? Don’t get tripped up by common misconceptions about how assets are divided. In Connecticut, it is not always as simple as a 50/50 split. 

Here’s what you need to know about how the court makes decisions on the division of assets for those divorcing in our state:

Connecticut is an “all-in equitable distribution” or “all-property equitable distribution” state.  This means the court has the authority to assign the couple’s property to either party.  It doesn’t matter how that property is titled (whether jointly or in an individual spouse’s name) or how or when it was acquired.  In other words, everything goes into the pot – even the home you owned before you were married and the inheritance your spouse received three months before the divorce action began.

A common fallacy is that the “all-in” nature of Connecticut’s equitable distribution scheme entitles a party to half of a spouse’s assets, including premarital and inherited property.  While those assets are indeed subject to the court’s authority, that does not mean that the court is required to divide them equally or otherwise.  In the end, how a court treats any asset will depend on how it balances all of the unique circumstances of the case, including the court‘s other financial orders.  Divorce judgments are often referred to as mosaics, and the individual assets and liabilities assigned to the parties by the court are like panes of glass in a much larger mosaic.  

In Connecticut, the court considers the factors below in the allocation of the assets between the spouses: 

  • The length of the marriage
  • The causes for the dissolution of the marriage
  • The ages of the parties
  • The health of the parties
  • The station in life of the parties
  • The occupations of the parties
  • The amount and sources of income for the parties;
  • The earning capacities of each party
  • The vocational skills of each party
  • The employability of each party
  • The education of each party
  • The assets and liabilities of each party
  • The needs of each party
  • The opportunity of each party for the future acquisition of capital assets and income
  • The contribution of each of the parties to the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of the assets.  

While the court is required to consider each of the factors, it is entirely at the judge’s discretion how much weight to give each criterion. That will depend on the unique and individual circumstances of the case, how previous courts applied the factors in similar circumstances, and even the judge’s own convictions. Moreover, the court is not required to explain how it weighs each factor, so long as it considers them all.  

The Connecticut courts define property broadly.  

Courts may divide any property in which a party has an interest that is not speculative or contingent on some future event.  The definition of property in Connecticut includes liabilities, and the court considers the same factors in assigning responsibility for liabilities to the parties.  Property fraudulently conveyed to third parties may also be construed as property subject to the court‘s authority.  It is also important to understand that property is valued as of the date the court enters its decree dissolving the marriage or as close to that date is practicable – not the date of the separation or the commencement of the action.  

Understanding Connecticut’s equitable distribution law is essential if you are considering a divorce or going through the process already.  Hiring an experienced Connecticut family law practitioner who understands how to advocate for you can help you receive a fair division of property and a successful resolution of your case.  

Interested in learning more about how assets are divided in a divorce?  Contact Attorney Daken at (203) 326-3330 or

Attorney Kevin J. Daken is a partner in the law firm of Siegel, Colin & Kaufman, P.C.  He represents clients in all facets of family law, including divorce and legal separation, alimony and child support, property distribution, child custody and access, post-judgment enforcement and modifications, and pre-and post-nuptial agreements. Attorney Daken’s wide-ranging experience includes cases involving disputed business and real estate valuations, complex compensation structures, vocational evaluations, and contentious disputes over custody and access.


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