The longer your marriage, the more property you accumulate. Your assets may be significant, which leads to complex property division if you and your spouse decide to divorce.
The prospect of dealing with this aspect of the divorce may seem overwhelming. However, thoughtful preparation will help you streamline the process.
The assets you and your spouse own must be identified. Most will be marital in nature but there may also be separate assets, those that you own by yourself. Once you identify all the assets, a value must be assigned to each. You must then establish a plan for the division of your property.
You will likely find that good preparation for property division includes making lists. Begin with categories: personal property, real property, financial assets, and business assets. Next, fill out the categories. For example, home furnishings, fine china, collectibles and vehicles would go under personal property. Your financial assets would include checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, stocks and bonds and trusts. Do not forget to include intellectual property, your fitness club membership, MLB season tickets and even the cemetery plots you and your spouse own.
In complex property division, points of contention can arise over even the most basic assets. It also takes time and legal guidance to sort out the more complicated items such as business ownership, deferred compensation and restricted stock. When you prepare by making lists, the property division phase of your divorce will go more smoothly. You will also have a better understanding of the assets you stand to control once you transition into the post-divorce world.