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How to Handle the Separation of Assets

The most commonly asked question during a divorce proceeding might be, “Who gets what?” When a couple decides to get married, they ultimately agree to become one, not just in relationship terms but on business terms as well. That is why divorce often costs so much time and money because there is often so much at stake (…and in this case, by stake we mean assets). “Dividing a home. Vehicles, securities, valuable collectibles, retirement benefits, and household items are where couples run into difficulty,” (LegalZoom). 

When filing for a divorce a person must get to know the laws on dividing assets which will depend on the state that they reside in. Check to make sure if your state allows for any assets obtained before getting hitched will remain with the original owner or if they were merged when the marriage license was signed. In most cases, if those assets are categorized as community property, then the court ruling will most likely favor the former scenario. But, always do your research.

While conducting research on state laws, it is a good idea to put together a record of all of the assets that you own. You should make your record alongside your spouse to have an all-around scope of what you own individually and as a couple. “Items that must be listed should include the home or any joint property (land, a vacation home, lake cabin, etc), all vehicles, bank accounts (including full balances), securities (stocks, bonds, money market accounts, CD’s), valuable collectibles (a classic vehicle, antique collections, coin collections), household items (furniture and appliances), and retirement plans,” (LegalZoom). 

It might be best to create this exhaustive record while you are married to stay objective and fair. When dividing the assets, things like the home will most likely (but, not always) go to whichever spouse is the main guardian of the children. With a car, the spouses must decide that on their own. For bigger assets like the family company and who will be the beneficiaries of a retirement plan, it would be wise to get a lawyer to assist in filing and completing a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) form to sort this out. 

To go more in-depth, when it comes to splitting up a family business, if the company is small then it can easily be divided. Buyouts and separation clauses are utilized to each completely dissolve the partnership of the spouses or give them an avenue to remain collaborators, even after they are divorced. Research which way might be the best for your business as a whole and act accordingly. As stated before, it is best to record the assets and decide how assets will be divided while you are still married to avoid conflicts and negative feelings in the event that the relationship breaks down. In difficult situations like divorce, it is best to be proactive instead of reactive. Divorces should be conducted in a timely manner to avoid putting strain on you and the family as a whole. 

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