An important concern of many divorced couples is the fair distribution of their wealth between the individual partners. Coupled with the emotions of ending their marriage and the responsibility of finding solutions to custody and livelihood issues, they are also concerned about how to divide wealth evenly.
Protect Your Assets During Divorce
If you live in a community owned state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin), you are not subject to fair distribution law like any other state. Each spouse has the right to joint property. However, with the guidance of an experienced legal team and a little preparation, it is possible to protect assets for even distribution. Balekian Hayes, PLLC attorneys have used their vast experience in the practice of family law to provide tips to help people protect assets during a divorce.
Start by examining the working capital that may be affected by a divorce.
Examples of marital property, or what is known in some states as communal property that can be split up during a divorce, include bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, vehicles, high value items like furniture, electronics and other household items, complex assets, and businesses intellectual property.
Determine if the property is separate or marital.
The wealth must be distributed fairly to each spouse. First of all, it is essential to determine which property is marital and which is separate. At the time of the acquisition of the asset, a decision is made as to whether it is marital or separate property. Common property is generally shared between spouses, while each separate property remains with its specific spouse.
Examples of separate property include property owned by a spouse prior to marriage, an inheritance received from a partner, gifts from a third party to a partner, and payments from a personal injury proceeding.
The marital assets are usually divided equally between the partners. The court will often consider many factors to determine how they will be divided including length of marriage, standard of living during the marriage, age, physical and emotional health of each spouse, earning potential and income of each spouse, income or the income, property brought into the marriage by each spouse, each spouse’s financial position after divorce, financial needs of custody parents to care for children.
Collect records and document elements.
Start by collecting records for all of the accounts, real estate, and assets held in common. Documentation is important in determining your fair share of the assets and can help ensure that your spouse does not hide any assets. It is required to keep copies of all tax returns, loan applications, wills, trusts, financial reports, banking information, broker statements, loan documents, credit card statements, real estate certificates, license plates, insurance inventories and policies. Don’t forget to make copies of records that you can also use to keep track of and review your separate property, such as: B. an inheritance or family gifts.
Make an inventory of household goods and their value, including household electronics like televisions, computers, and large items like your furniture. Values can be documented with receipts to show how much was paid for an item, or with the help of an appraiser.
Contact an attorney.
If you and your spouse are having trouble reaching a fair settlement agreement, you will need help from a qualified family lawyer. Many couples have a pre- or post-marital agreement in which they have decided in advance how they will share their common property. This can make things a lot easier during the divorce, but sometimes a prenup or postnup can be controversial.
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