(a) In addition to or in lieu of an order to pay spousal support made pursuant to a complaint for divorce, the court may assign to either the husband or wife a portion of the estate of the other. In determining the nature and value of the property, if any, to be assigned, the court after hearing the witnesses, if any, of each party shall consider the following:
(1) The length of the marriage;
(2) The conduct of the parties during the marriage;
(3) The contribution of each of the parties during the marriage in the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of their respective estates;
(4) The contribution and services of either party as a homemaker;
(5) The health and age of the parties;
(6) The amount and sources of income of each of the parties;
(7) The occupation and employability of each of the parties;
(8) The opportunity of each party for future acquisition of capital assets and income;
(9) The contribution by one party to the education, training, licensure, business, or increased earning power of the other;
(10) The need of the custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects taking into account the best interests of the children of the marriage;
(11) Either party's wasteful dissipation of assets or any transfer or encumbrance of assets made in contemplation of divorce without fair consideration; and
(12) Any factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.
(b) The court may not assign property or an interest in property held in the name of one of the parties if the property was held by the party prior to the marriage, but may assign income which has been derived from the property during the term of the marriage, and the court may assign the appreciation of value from the date of the marriage of property or an interest in property which was held in the name of one party prior to the marriage which increased in value as a result of the efforts of either spouse during the marriage. The court also shall not assign property or an interest in property which has been transferred to one of the parties by inheritance before, during, or after the term of the marriage. The court shall not assign property or an interest in property which has been transferred to one of the parties by gift from a third party before, during, or after the term of the marriage.
(c) The assignment of property, if any, to be made shall precede the award of alimony, since the needs of each party will be affected by the assignment of property, and once made in a final decree shall be final, subject only to any right of appeal which the parties may have. Any assignment made by the family court shall be regarded as a judgment for debt so that suit may be brought or execution may issue on the debt for the property due and undelivered, or the amount due and unpaid to be shown by affidavits of the person entitled to the property and the attorney of record of the person, the executions to run against the goods and chattels of the husband and wife, as the case may be; and the court may make all necessary orders and decrees concerning the suits or executions.
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