What You Need to Know About Asset Division During a Divorce

Throughout the duration of a marriage, you and your spouse will accumulate a lot of things. Should the two of you ever decide to split, all of those things (also known as assets) will need to be divided between the two of you.

To many people, an asset is something that has monetary value, such as a home, vehicle or business. However, assets can also carry sentimental value, such as wedding china. Ultimately, though, the most common assets are those that carry significant monetary value since other assets in the marriage have more of a personal weight to them.

In any case, assets must be divided in a divorce. Keep reading to learn what you need to be familiar with when it comes to your divorce and asset division.

What Types of Assets Exactly Are Divided?

Some of the first questions you probably have about your assets are, what exactly should I expect to split between me and my spouse? Will we have to split our retirement? Who will receive the money for a debt repayment? Luckily, we have some answers.

Your home is considered real property and an asset that must be divided in the divorce. If you and your spouse cannot agree on which one of you will keep the house, then a judge can and will decide. Usually, if you have children together, the one who is granted full or primary custody of the children will get the house.

Another asset is your life insurance policy. If you have a whole life insurance policy, then it has a cash value, which allows you to cash out the insurance policy or take out a loan against the policy. If you have a term life policy, you can use it to secure future financial support, which may be important if you or your spouse is currently ill.

Retirement accounts, such as pensions, IRAs and 401(k)s are also considered assets. Other assets include a family-owned business, vehicles, boats, RVs, intellectual property, tax refunds, credit card airline miles/points, collections and artwork.

What Do You Do If You Believe Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets?

During a divorce, it isn't uncommon to have the gut feeling that your spouse may be hiding some assets from you. If you feel this may be the case in your situation, let your lawyer know so that he or she can begin the process of discovery. This will uncover any assets that your spouse may be hiding and where they are located.

The process of discovery can consist of interrogatories (written questions) being sent to your spouse requesting that documents be produced to you by a third party, such as a bank. In addition, depositions may also be taken by individuals who may know where assets are being hidden.

How Is the Value of Assets Determined?

Depending on the nature of your assets, the value of your assets can be determined by reviewing a checking account statement, having an appraisal performed, or hiring an accountant to conduct an audit. You can speak to your attorney to discuss exactly what will need to be done for the valuation of your assets.

Deciding to get divorced is never an easy thing to do. However, if you and your spouse can agree on the division of assets, it can make for a much smoother and faster divorce.

When this cannot be done, you can contact The Law Office of Michael Lilly to speak with an experienced family law attorney. We understand that you are going through a difficult time and will work with you closely to ensure that you get the best possible legal representation.