One of many complicated parts of divorce- deciding how to divide assets between spouses.
What are Divorce Assets?
Typically, divorcers have a home, cars, pensions, and perhaps some toys and investments. These are all considered assets that need to be divided post-divorce. Items such as clothing, household effects, personal effects, food, non-unique artwork, most furniture, household tools, and lawnmowers are usually not considered assets. Courts are not interested in dividing your personal stuff. If the division of personal effects cannot be accomplished between the divorcers, the court will typically order that the things be sold to the highest bidder at a garage sale type auction. The profits will then be split between each party in order for them to move on from the marriage.
Who gets what?
Like most aspects of divorce, dividing assets will go much smoother if both parties can come to an agreement on which items each person will keep. If an agreement cannot be reached then courts will be forced to intervene. Typically, when assets are divided by the court each party will come away with a relatively equal share of assets, strictly in terms of value. A judge will typically try to give assets to the party that primarily used them, even if it means compensating the other side with another asset or cash.
Does everything get split up?
Personal property will not be split up, but assets acquired during the marriage will. Assets will accumulate during the course of the marriage. These assets are considered marital assets and will be split upon divorce. For example, if you have a bank account with 1000 dollars in it, and then once you get married it grows to $4000, only the $3000 acquired during the marriage will be split between you and your former spouse. Very few married people consider their marriage a business partnership established for the purpose of accumulating assets. However during a divorce that is how your relationship will be viewed. This is to ensure that each party is treated fairly and no one person takes all of the assets while the other is left with nothing.
The Marital Home- Post Divorce
While many parents will want their children to continue to be raised in the marital home in an attempt to provide a more normal life, it is often tough for separated couples to continue ownership of the marital home. Typically the home needs to be viewed as an asset that holds captive the economic value of the home to the divorcers. Carrying costs on a home are a drag on the family finances. This means that the home will often have to be sold with the profits being split between each parent in order to start their new lives post-divorce.
Hiding assets is a fool’s game. It never works. It always results in mistrust. Inevitably it winds up costing both parties more money. It always detracts from the possibility of future good faith and fair dealing. Furthermore, you usually get caught and will potentially face punishment.
Thanks to Horn Law Group, LLC intern Liam Meakem.