The expression “What’s mine is yours” is a beautiful sentiment when building a life together with someone. Unfortunately, that expression also has a strong meaning when the building phase comes to an end and it is time to part ways. Divorce is an emotional time filled with permanent decisions, financial implications, and dividing assets. Parting ways and starting new isn’t as challenging when facing the process with a clear and informed mind. Here are three tips for dividing marital property during divorce.
Be Civil, Open, and Honest
Approaching the process of divorce with a civil and amicable attitude can be easier said than done. With that said, being civil can lead to a faster settlement outside of the court system. Hire a mediator to help work out any issues that may arise during the process.
Before dividing any assets, take an inventory of everything acquired as a couple during the marriage. Any assets owned before marriage or any assets inherited during the marriage are not considered marital property. Don’t try to hide any assets; it’s next to impossible to hide assets in divorce proceedings, especially when lawyers are involved. If a spouse lies about assets, they can be responsible for the cost incurred by searching for them.
Keeping track of assets is easier when they are easy to find. Following a divorce settlement, extra space may be needed to keep won assets until getting settled into a new living situation. Self Storage Finders is a directory of storage facilities across thousands of locations. Easily find a storage facility based on the date needed, pricing, size, and location and make the rental arrangements online.
Understand the Difference Between Separate and Communal Property
Deciding on the division of assets can be challenging, and should never be decided based on current dollar value. It’s important to understand how assets are legally categorized before itemizing them. There are two separate categories for assets acquired during the marriage.
Separate property refers to property that was owned individually by a spouse and that was never shared. This includes assets owned before marriage, acquired after the date of legal separation or divorce, and property inherited or gifted during the marriage. In most states, if separately owned property increases in value the increase will then count as marital property.
Marital or community property is acquired or earned during the marriage. This includes income, retirement earnings, joint financial accounts, physical property, and gifts made from one spouse to the other.
Determine the Property Ownership System
For divorces that end up in court, the property ownership system of the state of domicile will determine the division of assets. Nine states treat marital property acquired during the marriage as community property and therefore equally owned by both spouses. Community property such as debts, individual incomes, and shared properties, will be equally divided between the spouses.
The remaining states practice the Equitable Distribution of assets. This method requires settlements to be equitable and fair, not necessarily equal. Equitable distribution considers a spouse’s financial contribution to assets and each spouses’ ability to support themselves post-divorce. Courts may consider the following factors when determining equitable distribution: the length of the marriage, which spouse assumes primary custody of children, the size of the marital estate, the age and physical condition of each spouse, the income and earning potential of each spouse, and the standard of living during the marriage.
Michael Lynch Family Lawyers specialize in all aspects of Brisbane family law services. With over 20 years of experience, Michael Lynch Family Lawyers works with families with children, couples without children, and empty nesters to understand all aspects of divorce law and what to expect during proceedings.