Cases which do not involve children are generally resolved as a division of financial assets.
Common assets which may be considered will include:
- The marital home and any other properties
- Household contents
- Personal property
- Bank accounts,
- Stocks and Investments
- Insurance policies
- Pension Plan, Retirement funds 401k, etc.
- Any business assets
- All liabilities, including mortgages, credit cards, car loans etc.
- Earnings history, current and future earning potential of both parties.
In general, it will be the intent of the court to divide the assets in the most mathematically equitable way possible.
Prior to a trial or settlement, there will normally be a process known as discovery, where all legal and financial documentation will be required to be turned in to attorneys representing both parties.
In most cases the behavior of the two people involved in the marriage prior to the divorce will not be taken into consideration when dividing assets, unless it can be demonstrated that the circumstances of the relationship have caused future financial hardship on one of the parties.
A good rule of thumb is to assume that whatever marital assets were held by the couple prior to the divorce will be split 50-50. Some states have a common property law, which effectively says that any property held during the marriage is jointly owned by both parties.
Special consideration, in the form of alimony or spousal support , may be given to spouses who are judged by the court to have sacrificed career opportunities in order to support the other spouse or the children of the marriage. Laws vary significantly from country to country and state to state.