Friday, December 6, 2019

Division Of Assets – A Delicate Process During A Divorce

October 25, 2011  

The process of dividing property and other assets during divorce proceedings can be emotionally trying for couples, possibly leading to prolonged and hotly contested exchanges. Couples looking to avoid messy or contentious scenes, inside or outside of the courtroom, often look to an experienced family law or divorce attorney to delicately negotiate terms acceptable for both parties.

While divvying up real estate holdings such as the family home, vacation property or commercial rentals are often a primary concern in the case of divorce; other physical properties to be considered include vehicles, valuable artworks, antiques and collectibles, or recreational equipment such as boats or motor homes.

Couples must also divide a range of financial holdings such as life insurance policies, pension and retirement savings, loans and cash as well as any credit card or other debt accrued during the marriage. Current profit and future earnings from one spouses’ business might be on the table as well, whether or not the other was involved-a scenario that might result in one party buying the other out. These types of cases typically make entertainment headlines when high-powered celebrities separate. The itemizing of financials can be particularly stressful and best sorted out with the help of an attorney well versed in ironing out these types of specifics.

Some assets, however, do not fall into the category of marital property and are not subject to division upon a divorce. These can include real estate or assets that belonged to one party prior to marriage, personal gifts given during the course of the marriage or a family inheritance. In some cases, a prenuptial agreement has outlined other assets that would remain the sole property of one party in the case of divorce.

These matters can become further complicated depending on specific state laws. Some states, such as California, Texas and Louisiana follow the principles of “community property”, where assets are divided 50-50, regardless of the particulars of a divorce. If couples cannot equitably work out their differences regarding these holdings, a judge will divide the assets according to state law.

In the majority of states, marital assets are split using the process of “equitable distribution,” wherein factors such as the length of the marriage, income and earning potential of the spouses, age and health of the parties and concerns regarding any children are taken into account. Other deciding factors can include considerable debt accrued during the course of the marriage by one spouse as well as what contributed to the divorce, such as infidelity.

Hiring a skilled family law attorney with experience in divorce settlements regarding the division of property allow both parties to work towards an amicable and equitable agreement.

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