Chris Harrison, well known for his role as host of the reality TV show "The Bachelor," will divorce from his wife of 18 years. While it is good that the soon-to-be-former spouses seem to be positive about this direction in their lives (a joint statement by the couple said they still have "love and mutual respect" for one another), they have some issues to work through in the coming months.
One of these matters is property division, an issue in divorce that can cause contentious debate between the splitting spouses. Property division differs depending on the state; here in Minnesota, the general rule is "fair and equitable."
This does not mean "equal." While a fairly common outcome of property division in divorce is for the parties to equally split their assets and property doesn't mean there can be other outcomes. If a Minnesota couple cannot agree on an asset on the chopping block, a judge can "fair and equitably" split the asset as he or she sees fit. This means the split may not (and likely will not) be exactly equal.
Harrison and wife are getting their divorce in California, which recognizes community property laws. That means that any asset of piece of property the couple purchased with their own income during their marriage is equally divided to each party. In other words, if they bought a house while married, Harrison and his wife would each own 50% of the house.
Another thing to remember that some divorcing couples do not know is that, regardless of what property division laws are in place, the debt you and your spouse have accrued during your marriage is considered an "asset," an entity that you both have to take care of -- no matter how it is split.
Source: Reuters, "'The Bachelor' Host Chris Harrison is Getting Divorced," Edward Tan, May 4, 2012