What is a Monetary Award?

A monetary award is a tool that the court uses when dividing marital property in a divorce case.

Often, when the court divides marital property, because some property cannot be divided cleanly, one party ends up with a bigger or more valuable pile of property than the court intended that party to receive, and the other party receives a smaller or less valuable pile of property than the court intended that party to receive. In this situation, the court can require the party with the larger share to give money to the party with the smaller share in order to even things out. This money is called a monetary award, which the court enters in the form of a judgment in favor of one party and against the other.

In addition to balancing out the division of marital property, a monetary award may be used to compensate one spouse for inequities in the marital finances that are not attributable to property. Examples include situations in which the court finds it appropriate to compensate one spouse for the improper disposition, such as by sale, gift, or destruction, of marital property by the other, or to compensate a spouse who incurred non-marital debts for family purposes.

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