When you are faced with the process of getting divorced, a lot can be running through your mind. How did we get here? How am I going to start my life over? What is going to happen to everything we worked so hard to build?
That last question is often one of the most important ones that runs through your mind. While you were married, you and your spouse made decisions that earned you a comfortable home, various physical properties, financial holdings, and more. Now that you're getting divorced, you’re likely concerned about what is going to happen to those assets — and what you have to do in order to keep what is rightfully yours.
Asset division is a complicated and very important aspect of your divorce proceedings. In order to ensure that you are given what you are entitled, it's essential to understand how assets are divided during a divorce and have a skilled attorney on your side to fight for what you deserve.
Dividing Assets During a Divorce
What Items Are Considered Assets?
While a few obvious possessions come to mind, such as your home and vehicles, there are many things that the court considers assets when determining what a spouse will receive upon the finalization of their divorce. These can include:
Retirement accounts, such as IRAs and pensions
Financial assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and cash
Tax refunds and credits
Copyrights and trademarks
Credits cards and related benefits, such as airline miles or redeemable points
Movable vehicles, such as boats and RVs
Regular household items as well as pieces of artwork and antiques
Life insurance policies
It’s often best to write down a detailed, itemized list of any assets you and your spouse share early on in the divorce process so you know exactly what is on the table. While the value of some assets is easily determined, you may require others to be appraised to determine accurate valuation.
It’s also important to note that any assets you had on your own before you were married are often considered separate assets and are not affected by divorce proceedings.
What Factors Affect Asset Division?
In New York, if the division of assets is handled in court — rather than outside of court through negotiations — assets are rarely divided straight down the middle. Typically, one spouse may receive a large portion of assets.
The court system takes many things into account when determining the division of assets. These can include:
The income and property of each spouse when they were first married and when they filed for divorce.
The duration of the marriage and the current age and state of health of each spouse.
If there are minor children involved in the divorce and if the custodial parent requires the house for said children.
The amount of spousal support awarded to a specific spouse.
The level of liquidity of certain assets.
The assumed financial future of each spouse.
If one spouse wasted certain assets during divorce proceedings.
For those assets that cannot be physically divided, the courts may require one spouse to make monetary payments to the other to compensate for them.
How Does My Prenup Affect Asset Division?
If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement prior to being married, it will likely play a big role in how assets are distributed upon divorce. It is first important to note that these agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties — the court will not accept anything less.
Assuming the contract is valid, in some cases, a prenuptial agreement can protect the assets you had before you were married or entitle you to certain assets and provisions in the event of divorce. However, there are certain cases in which the court may overturn parts of your contracts.
Advice for Entering in Asset Divisions
Try to Remain Cordial
While this is often easier said than done, making an effort to divide assets amicably can go a long way in not only getting what you feel entitled to but also keeping your case out of court — thus finalizing the process more quickly.
Seek Legal Counsel
The divorce process is complex and can involve a lot of moving parts, not to mention that emotions often run high. In order to see the results you’re hoping for, it’s best to have a skilled divorce attorney who will negotiate on your behalf out of court and fight for your rights if your case ends up before a judge.
Dedicated Divorce Attorney’s in Lakeville
After spending years contributing financial resources to accounts, you may wonder how best to protect your investments during a divorce, to prevent them from being drained.
We are here to help. At Duke Law Firm, P.C., we prioritize the needs and expectations of each client to create a personalized strategy for every case. We will listen carefully to your story and work hard to help the divorce proceedings go as smoothly as possible. Together, we can find a fair resolution to your divorce.
Contact us today at (585) 449-4987 to schedule a free half-hour consultation.