If you are facing divorce, you are probably experiencing some anxiety over the process of property division. The more assets you have, the more the anxiety level increases.
However, if you make practical preparations in advance, going through property division will not be as onerous a task as you anticipate.
When you are facing divorce, you should gather all the financial documents in your possession, give a set to your attorney and keep a set for yourself. Here are a few tips for getting organized in advance:
- If possible, close all joint credit card accounts and establish credit separately
- Open separate checking accounts
- If you need to maintain a joint checking account, create a written agreement that defines its purpose and how to use the funds
- Freeze investment accounts to prevent the misuse of funds
- Split income in half until you determine how to divide monthly income
- If you and your spouse own a home, change the title to include “tenants in common,” which will make it easier to determine the amount of ownership each of you will eventually have
Results of financial misconduct
Separating any financial obligations you hold jointly will be to your benefit if you feel your spouse has spent money unwisely. If, for example, your spouse engaged in an extramarital affair and gave expensive gifts to the individual with whom he or she was involved, the court will note the misconduct. A judge may order your spouse either to repay the assets or take less in terms of a settlement when dividing your property.
What to expect
Preparing wisely is the best way to approach the process of property division. An experienced attorney can help you in the valuation and division of the assets. In addition to the marital home and other real property, this will include investments and retirement plans as well as any business assets you might own. The court will take both your assets and your debts into account and will divide property division in as equitable a way as possible.