How To Handle Assets During Divorce


People going through divorce have to deal with the assets left over from their marriages. Even in states with fairly strict marital property definitions, asset division can be a complex process. A divorce lawyer, though, will advise you to do these four things to make the process a little smoother.

Document the Ownership of the Major Assets

Whenever possible, try to provide significant documentation of the title or purchase of an item. This is especially important if you want to claim an asset is outside of the circle of marital properties. Purchase dates are also important.

If you owned your house before you married, for example, it's important to show your name exclusively on the title before and during the marriage. The same goes for vehicles, accounts, and other assets.

Similarly, if you want to claim joint ownership of marital assets, you'll want to have documentation attesting to that fact. It's a little bit less of an issue if no one can prove an asset isn't marital property, but you should document facts whenever possible.

Itemize Everything

Develop a written list of what you own. Make a note regarding whether each item is marital property or not. If you're unsure, ask a divorce attorney about your state's definition. If they don't have a quick answer, then simply include a small question mark next to what you think is the appropriate characterization.

Think About a Settlement

Most people don't go all the way to court hearings to take control of assets. Instead, the process generally favors settling. You should start with a settlement in mind, and that means you should also prepare to negotiate.

A good negotiator knows the value of having things to trade. When you itemize the assets, provide a 5-point rating as to how much you want it. Prioritize necessities, such as making sure you'll have a place to live. Use the things you don't desperately want to secure the things you do.

Remember to Itemize Liabilities

People often overlook the other side of the ledger when it comes to divorce. Assets are great, but you've probably also accumulated some liabilities during the marriage. You'll have to divide responsibility for settling loans and credit card bills, for example.

Also, liabilities make good negotiating items. If you can afford to take on some extra debt, for example, you might offer to do so in exchange for getting an especially desirable asset.  


14 October 2021

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