• Ronald A. Flate

Dealing with assets in a divorce proceeding

Dear Clients and Friends,

The breakup of a relationship that was supposed to be ‘til death do us part can be emotionally devastating. Depending on the circumstances, there can be a lot of pain, anger and recrimination. If there are kids, there’s an additional level of complexity.

As well, there’s the issue of dividing up property, which can be even more difficult considering the emotional factors. When most of us think of property division, we just think about our bank accounts, our house and our investments and we often think we can divide these things on our own. Often, there are assets that are overlooked and that’s why it’s important to have your own attorney who can help you identify and value these assets for a more equitable split.

For example, it may be easy to split up the house, but how easy is it to split up the furnishings? After all, these items each have their own financial value that needs to be appraised to ensure they’re properly considered.

The same thing goes for pets and even livestock. What about wedding gifts? Or employee benefits? Don’t assume that things like retirement accounts, stock options and pension benefits can’t be valued and split.

Maybe you and your spouse belonged to a golf club or a country club as a couple. Who gets to keep the membership, and how much does the other spouse give up to let it go?

Perhaps, as a couple, you loaned money to friends or family. The right to collect on this debt can be considered a marital asset, and that needs to be given a dollar value as well. So do things like unused credit card rewards points and frequent flyer miles. Even things with primarily sentimental value, like framed family photos, art, collectibles and family keepsakes need to be considered.

Depending on your situation, you might want to just let some of this go without nickel-and-diming each other and elevating the level of acrimony. It’s still important for you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse to appraise everything so you can protect your interests and help ensure the fairest division of property possible.

We continue to invite you to call us for a free phone evaluation of your matter.

Best,

Ron

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