Getting a divorce may be more complex depending on the variety of assets you have obtained as a couple. From deciding who gets the house and cars to determining ownership in shared investments and companies there are many decisions as to who gets what in a divorce that have to be made during a divorce settlements. Working through the distribution of assets can be one of the longest parts of the divorce process depending on the specifics of your assets as well as the amicability of both parties. Here is some general information on how assets are typically split:
Dollar Value vs Real Value
Assets are not necessarily divided based on their dollar value, but could be are divided based on a series of criteria such as investment value, real value, and deferred value.
The first aspect that is considered with each item of property is whether it was acquired during the marriage or was brought to the marriage by one or the other party, called separate property. Some things that are considered separate property include property owned by one or the other spouse before the marriage, and inheritance left to an individual spouse by a family member, and even payments received as judgments against another party. In these situations they are always awarded to the spouse who has an interest in them as separate property.
Marital property or property is jointly owned and obtained by both spouses is divided much differently. Also, it is important to note that separate property can become marital property if co-mingled after the marriage. For instance, re-titling your house in both names take a separate property to a marital one. Examples of marital property include all assets acquired during the marriage. This includes real estate, automobiles, investment accounts, stocks, bonds, memberships, insurance policies, and bank accounts. These properties and assets will be divided between spouses.
Some of the criteria that is used to decide on how assets are divided or who gets what include: the length of the marriage, the financial situation of each spouse before and during the marriage, the contributions made by one spouse to another during the marriage, such as support while obtaining and education, the expected earning potential of each spouse after the divorce, and finally the needs of each spouse if they are also a parent and once custody issues are resolved.
When preparing for divorce, taking the time to understand the process and how things are divided can be beneficial as you work though the process. Your lawyer or divorce mediator will help to negotiate for those assets that matter most for you and help you come to a peaceful and acceptable solution for both parties. When deciding who gets what in a divorce, it’s important to remember that compromise is key as neither party will usually be completely happy with every decision. Worry only about those individual items that matter most and be willing to negotiate and compromise on the others.
Dividing assets in a divorce is stressful and overwhelming and can show the worst in people. It is a good idea to seek a divorce mediators advice and guidance to avoid the process from becoming ugly. Please contact us at Common Ground Divorce Mediation for a Free Consultation.