When it comes to settling a divorce, there are few issues which couples dread more than needing to determine how to split their assets. In amicable divorces the emotions can still run high, and contentious divorces can result in lengthy and potential expensive separations. However, going into a divorce proceeding with the help of experts and armed with some knowledge about divorce proceedings may be able to help issues get resolved sooner.
One of the most important things to remember in a divorce is that nearly all assets are eligible to be split. While some may not be aware that things such as investments, 401k plans, even property entirely in one individuals name are still eligible to be considered for property division. While it may not be possible to split all of these assets, an individual may be able to claim more property or receive a higher amount of alimony in compensation for these differences.
Functionally, almost all property earned during a divorce is eligible to be considered shared marital property. This means that the property will be considered eligible for equal split during a divorce proceeding. Even money such as inheritances or financial compensation from a lawsuit can be split during a divorce is they assets were co-mingled with other joint assets.
Exceptions to this typically include items with sentimental value or property that was owned by one individual before a marriage, all of which are likely to be considered individual property. Once shared and personal properties have been determined, the property can then be divided equitably between the couple.
While property division will likely remain a contentious issue in divorces, knowing basic knowledge of property division can help avoid tricks or misleading statements that could reduce the assets an individual takes in a divorce.
Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: The Truth About Your Husband's 401(k) And Other Assets," Jeff Landers, Aug. 8, 2013