You’re closing in on the divorce process when you begin to realize that you have many questions about how to best divide marital property. While you’ll do your best to fight for what you deserve, you can expect your soon-to-be ex-spouse to do the same. And that’s where the challenge lies.
Marital property has the potential to be a sticking point in any divorce. There are basic steps you can take to protect against trouble, such as:
- Understanding the difference between separate and marital property
- Uncovering any assets the other individual is attempting to hide from the court
- Realizing that the presumption of equal sharing is a myth
To improve efficiency and avoid a situation in which you’re taken advantage of, it’s critical to create a property division checklist. You can break this down into four separate categories:
- Real estate: For most, this includes the family home. It can also include rental property, vacation homes and business property. Deciding what to do with the family home is one of the biggest questions you’ll answer, as this is likely to be one of your most valuable assets. It’s also important if you have children together.
- Personal property: These are the items that you keep at home, such as clothes, furniture, electronics, jewelry, home office equipment, collectibles, china, artwork, antiques and motor vehicles.
- Financial assets: In addition to bank accounts and retirement accounts, other financial assets include cash, stocks and bonds, mutual funds, certificates of deposit, life insurance policy cash values, trusts and annuities.
- Business assets and property: If you and/or your spouse own a business, these assets could be part of your divorce. They often include office equipment, commercial real estate and business bank accounts.
A lack of knowledge regarding the property division process can make it difficult to obtain what you’re owed.
It’s critical to go into the process with an understanding of your legal rights, as well as the steps you can take to receive the assets you’re entitled to.
When you combine this with a willingness to negotiate and compromise, you should be able to work out an agreement with the other individual that allows you to move onto other areas of your divorce.