One of the most common problems individuals have to deal with during a divorce is how to divide property. Whether the property was acquired during the marriage isn’t always the only question either, as sometimes there isn’t a clear answer as to who should get what.
Using these six tips to help make sense of property division during a divorce, the process will go much smoother, saving you from more pain down the road.
1. Identify Marital Property
While not always the perfect method for dividing property since assets aren’t always of equal value, determining what property was acquired during the marriage is the first step in figuring out how to divide. This often works because in Arizona, property acquired before the marriage isn’t usually considered marital property, and the original owner generally retains possession.
2. Determine Asset Value
Marital property is difficult to divide because items – a home and a car, for example – have very different values. Once you’ve determined what property was obtained during the marriage, the value of each item needs to be figured. That way you’ll be able to split up assets in a fair manner based on how much they are worth.
3. Dealing With Investments
Investments that are made during the time of marriage – such as an IRA that belongs to two people, can be tricky to divide. Pulling the money out and dividing it equally can result in a large financial penalty. In most cases, a better option for a couple dividing investments made during the marriage is to split them evenly based on dollar amounts without liquidating them. Often, this might require one person to pay a certain amount of money or give up other asset to meet the dollar value of their investment. If you only have one investment, such as a retirement account, dissolving it might be the only way to split the money up equally.
4. What About the House?
A single-family home is typically the most valuable property a couple acquires during their marriage. There are a variety of ways to deal with dissolving a home, including:
- Selling the home can be sold and dividing the money between the two parties.
- Providing other assets of equal value to one party while the other party retains possession of the home.
- One spouse can buy out the other person’s share of the home, either over time or after a certain period of time has passed.
When divorce becomes contentious, it is common for many people to argue over the smallest possessions. Unfortunately, this makes the process much more difficult. Items that have sentimental value are often hard to divide for this reason. While trying to get an even share of the marital property is probably in your best financial interest, there are times when dollar amounts just can’t be perfectly matched. In those cases, it may be better to simply let some things go so as to move on with your life.
6. Hire an Attorney
It might sound obvious, but some people try to deal with divorce without having an attorney to protect their interests. While you can talk about asset division without an attorney, signing any sort of agreement without one is usually not going to be in your best interest, especially if your spouse has an attorney working for them.
Divorce is a messy subject, but dividing your property doesn’t have to be. With the right tools and proper knowledge, you can equip yourself so that things go smoothly, and you get what you’re entitled to. Hiring an attorney is always in your best interest when it comes to things progressing fairly and equitably. Call Gregory A. Riebesehl at (602) 621-0779 to ensure a fair and equal division of your marital assets when going through a divorce.