Dividing up the assets in a divorce can be one of the most difficult areas to resolve. The pain of the separation is most likely already taking toll on emotions. Now you’re put in a situation where you need to finalize the process. If you don’t learn about the system and how everything works then you are putting yourself at risk of losing quite a bit of property.
Sometimes dividing the assets can be easy when everyone agrees. Other times, you may need to fight for every penny that is yours. A lot depends on your ex-spouse. He or she may be willing to get things over with as quickly and as painlessly as possible, but your ex might be looking to keep everything he or she can.
When it comes to dividing up the assets, you need to realize that you can only divide marital property, which is anything that you and your ex-spouse acquired while you were married. These assets include the family home, the savings plan, the retirement plan, the car, and so on. In a marriage, you are supposed to share each other’s gains and losses, but anything that your partner had beforehand before entering the relationship often remains his or her own.
If you have been married only a short time, the process may be a pretty simple one to figure out. However, if you have been married for 10 or more years, then you are going to need to look back and figure out what you owned prior to the marriage and what is considered marital property. Sometimes there is simply not much to divide, but there can be a lot of ambiguity regarding when something was purchased, whose it belonged to, and whether or not it can be considered marital property.
Advice Online, a British financial website, explains that planning is the key to asset and divorce settlements. In order to do things right, you need to work closely with an expert. There are a number of steps that you need to take care of to ensure that you are not on the short end of the stick when dividing the assets. A professional will help you:
- Make a detailed list of what you own, what you owe, and what you earn.
- Consider every financial arrangement you and your ex-spouse had together.
- Stop all joint credit cards and store cards immediately to protect against your ex-spouse taking money out without having to give you half.
- Remember that a joint loan holds both you and your partner liable.
- Review any insurance policies that were in place.
- Assign any joint mortgage policy to the partner who is taking it over.
- Make sure that the title deeds on your property are registered in a way that your ex-spouse cannot sell the home or get a mortgage without your consent.
- Review your will to ensure that your ex-spouse will be treated financially as though he/she died on the day of the divorce.
Depending on where you live, you’re not always entitled to half of your marital assets in a divorce. However, the more you know about the laws in your area, the more likely you are to get a fair deal.
Always go to somebody for advice if you’re not sure about the rules. You can either go to a friend who understands or uses a lawyer. If at any point, you feel as though you’re being conned into signing something that you shouldn’t, make sure that you are taking every step necessary to hold on to your assets. Although it’s a difficult process, you’re going to need to analyze every financial aspect of your marriage and figure out what is a fair, equitable distribution.
What is Equitable Distribution?
According to FreeAdvice.com, equitable distribution is a replacement from the 50/50 system. Instead of splitting everything down the middle, this system is used to predict the marital property going into the future as well as the present so that both partners can maintain the lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to.
EqualityInMarriage.org explains that ‘it factors in things like how long the marriage lasted, what each person brought into the marriage, how much each can or does earn, responsibilities for children, retraining, tax consequences, and debt.’ If you signed a marital agreement at some point, it will give you much more control as to how your assets are divided.
Everything that you have acquired throughout your marriage will be divided, regardless of whose name or money was used to purchase the asset. However, you are able to prove what assets exist and can protect against anything your ex-spouse may have done with valuable assets while anticipating the divorce.
Both partners, regardless of the situation, are responsible for the debts incurred together while married.
Dividing the Assets Smoothly
There are many ways that dividing the assets can go wrong. If both you and your ex-spouse are completely up front and honest, it will be much easier to figure out. The worst thing to deal with is a spouse that is trying to hide money or take it unfairly. If you are able to work together and divide the assets in a way that you both see is fair, it will save a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on lawyer fees.
While it’s always easier to settle out of court, the system is in place to ensure that you are treated fairly. If you feel as though your ex-spouse is trying to take advantage of you by taking more money than he or she deserves, then you can always let the system help handle the division of assets. It will take more time, but it will also ensure that you have a judge’s decision on the situation.