Dividing marital property is another part of divorce that is complex and exhausting, but it mustn’t be ignored. Formulating a game plan for how you and your spouse will divide up your assets will ensure that you get everything you are entitled to, whether it’s a car, house, collectibles, or art. Here are some general property division tips and tricks you should follow:
- Brush up on your state’s property division laws: While many states follow equitable distribution guidelines, others follow community property laws, which are 50/50 no matter how much more one spouse makes than the other.
- Don’t settle: You may get frustrated and decide to give the other person what they want, to get the divorce over with. This move can come back to haunt you because once a settlement is made, it’s final.
- Keep valuable items under lock and key: If you and your spouse aren’t on the best terms, you may be worried they will take your shared valuable items without telling you. Request a court order to keep these items in storage until a settlement is reached.
- Don’t try and hide assets: While you may not want your spouse to get everything you have, hiding your assets will likely land you in more trouble. Attorneys are trained to uncover hidden assets, such as unreported income, secret accounts and shady business-related expenses.
- Establish your property: Determine which items in your home are your personal property. Things like family heirlooms (from your side of the family) or items you owned before you were married belong to you, and your spouse will have no right to them.
- Hire a mediator: A mediator, who does not represent either party, can help you come up with a divorce settlement agreement so that you don’t have to battle it out in court.