There are several factors that make divorces unpleasant, from the actual event itself to many details involved, and one such detail is the separation and allocation of resources between the two spouses who are splitting up. Not only can this be a detailed and laborious process, it can be one where contention from the two sides can complicate things significantly.
At the offices of Day Shell & Liljenquist, our experienced divorce attorneys can help with this and all related issues. We can represent you strongly, ensuring you don’t sacrifice any assets that are due your way while also helping complete the process of asset division as simply and hassle-free as possible. Here are some basics on property division within a marriage and divorce, plus some options for how this can be done after a divorce has been completed.
In some cases, the asset division process will have been made much simpler years earlier – when both spouses in the marriage agreed on a prenuptial agreement before joining together in unity. Prenups allow couples to avoid property division requirements that might normally be required by law, such as communal property divisions.
Prenups make things easier in a number of ways. They allow spouses to attend to all basic property division details while on good terms, meaning everyone will be reasonable about the situation. It’s important to note that a judge or court will still have to sign off on a prenup after a divorce has taken place, but this is just to ensure there are no indicators of signing under duress or any kind of misconduct. Outside this kind of evidence, a judge will always uphold a prenup.
Property Division Basics
In cases where a prenup is not in play, asset division will be a bit more complex. The first step of this process involves identifying all shared assets the couple has – income, real estate, retirement funds, stocks, vehicles, and any other high-value areas. From here, you have to go through and place a fair value on every asset. At this point, you have a few options available for how you allocate assets between the two parties.
Asset Division Options
Your options here include:
- Liquidate and split: The simplest non-prenup option here comes when a divorcing couple chooses to sell all their communal assets, then divide the profits up equally. There might be some cases where a slightly uneven division is agreed upon based on difficulty selling certain items or other factors.
- Allocate similarly valued items: In other cases, spouses may want to go through a more detailed process that involves picking specific assets to keep, then matching the value of these items through others of a similar value. Say one spouse really wants to retain ownership of a retirement plan with a value of $50,000, for instance – in this case, the opposing spouse would be entitled to some other asset in the split that’s roughly equal to that same $50,000 (or multiple items that equal that number). This continues until each spouse owns an equal share, only with more specific items involved.
- Debt instead of assets: Spouses are also liable for half their shared debts, and these can be used to even out asset allocation as well. One spouse may take on a share of the other’s debt in exchange for a larger percentage of assets.
To learn more about the asset division phase of a divorce, or for information on any of our divorce attorney or personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of Day Shell & Liljenquist today.