While no one ever sets out to plan to get divorced, divorces are increasingly common in the United States today. When divorce happens, one of the most asked questions that people have undoubtedly has to do with their assets. For many separating couples, dividing material assets is one of the most challenging parts of the divorce process. While it may be difficult to work together with your former partner during this time, the more you and your future-ex spouse can agree on, the easier the division of assets will be.
Here are a few pointers on how to expedite this process and make it as easy as possible.
The More Organized You Are, the Better
A list is your best tool when it comes to getting yourself organized for asset division. It is simplest if you and your spouse can make a list together of joint items you own that will need to be divided. This is your starting point. There is no wrong item to put on this list.
Don’t Expect Everything to Be Equal
Most divorces turn out the be fair, but not necessarily equal when it comes to asset division. Typically, most couples struggle with homes, vehicles, retirement benefits, household items, and valuables. However, it is important to remember that all assets must be divided in a way that is satisfactory to both parties before the divorce can be finalized.
Try to Keep Things Civil
The more cordial and amicable the two parties can be, the better. Not playing nice will only drag the process out longer and disputes can not only be time-consuming, but they can lead to formal disclosures which can slow the divorce down even more.
Consider Dividing Assets into Trusts for Dependents
If you have dependents, talk to your attorney about dividing your assets into trusts for your children. It can help save you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse money and make sure that your assets are not divided among you but instead given to the heirs or dependents in your life, outside of other divorce proceedings. It is a great way to keep these valuable assets protected.
Be Prepared to Dispute the House and Cars
For most couples, the biggest issues with asset division are splitting the house and the cars. If you have children, judges will typically grant that the parent with primary physical custody stays in the home. However, some couples will choose to sell the home and split the proceeds. Vehicles are another common area of dispute.
Many individuals involved in divorces are surprised to find that the spouse who holds the sole title, doesn’t always necessarily get the vehicle that they own. Even a vehicle owned by one spouse can be considered marital property. A great tip to remember with vehicle distribution is to know the value of the vehicle in its current condition.
Take Your Time with Family Businesses and Retirement Benefits
Two of the most difficult assets to split are retirement benefits and family businesses. Both of these assets are very complex, they take time and they can be a source of contention. Retirement benefits don’t always just go to the individual who received these benefits through their work—they may be considered marital property.
Family-owned businesses must be divided based on the value of the business as is, along with present and future profits. Typically, the easiest agreement involves one spouse buying out the other spouse, once these values have been determined.
Always Consult with Your Attorney
The best thing that any divorcing party can do during this difficult time is to make sure they always consult their attorney for advice. The right legal expert can be a major asset when dividing assets. If you have questions about dividing assets or trusts please feel free to give the experts at Hegwood Law Group a call at (218) 218-0880.