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Tips for identifying assets in a divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2017 | Firm News |

Ending your relationship is an emotional process, but strictly speaking, the divorce itself is the dissolution of a legal contract. As such, you and your spouse both have a duty to be completely honest in describing your financial situation.

Even if you both intend to be straightforward, inventorying your joint property can be a challenge. Here are some marital assets that couples may overlook, whether intentionally or accidentally.

Personal property

Your mind may immediately jump to the car, boat or trailer, but take a look at the inside of your house, too. Do you have valuable artwork? What about antiques? Not only do you need to include these, you need to have them professionally valuated so the division of your marital estate is fair to both of you.

Credit card rewards

Using plastic to make purchases and cashing your earned rewards in for a flight to a resort or spa may be the way you get your much-needed R and R. If you are both on the account, dividing the points or frequent flyer miles may be a simple split. If the card is solely in your name, it could get more complicated.

According to CreditCards.com, some credit card companies have policies that do not allow the division of points or frequent flyer miles, so you may need to have a value placed on them that you can include on your financial disclosure statement.

Retirement accounts

You may think that your spouse has no right to your 401(k) or pension, but the courts usually consider it marital property, too, unless you had it before you married, or included it in a pre- or postnuptial agreement. Contributions that you made before your marriage may be separate property, though, and early withdrawals may lower the value through tax penalties, making division even more complex.

Any asset that needs to be defined and assigned a dollar value has the potential to throw off the balance of your divorce settlement. In addition to an attorney who specializes in high-asset divorce, you may want to have a forensic accountant on your team to assist you in locating and valuating all marital property.

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