In a divorce, one of the biggest issues that couples have to contend with is splitting assets. Once you get married, you will accumulate a lot of stuff together. Simply walking out the door and leaving is not really how you legally end a marriage. There is still the topic of asset division that you will need to deal with.
There are two main ways to go about it. You can be combative and revengeful, refusing to agree with your spouse on anything. However, this method draws out the process, making your divorce costlier and lengthier than it needs to be.
The friendlier approach is to be amicable. Sure, after a divorce, you may be anything from nice and friendly. You may be feeling stressed, upset, frustrated, and a million other negative emotions. You are emotional, to say the least. You may wonder why you would want to be on good terms with your spouse, especially if he or she initiated the divorce. The main reason is for the kids, if you have any. It is best to not subject the children to you and the other parent’s drama.
Even if you do not have kids, it is best to let go of the drama. While splitting assets can be tedious, it needs to be done, so why not do it amicably? While you may have a lot of items to split up—including bank accounts, retirement plans, houses, cars, boats, furniture, antiques, and even debt—you can keep the process pain-free. Here are some tips to help you divide marital property in a divorce.
Reach an Agreement
When it comes to a divorce, you want to stay out of the courtroom as much as possible. Trying to push your divorce into litigation is not a good idea. It will take a long time to finalize everything. Plus, the costs go up dramatically. Why not be civil and keep costs down? Opt for mediation and try to reach a settlement agreement. It will be much better than dealing with a nasty court battle.
Understand the Different Property Types
In a divorce, you will need to be aware of separate vs. community property. This is how the legal system in Florida and all other states categorize your property. Separate property refers to assets that you and your spouse own individually and never shared, such as items you owned before marriage, any items you received as gifts while married, and any inheritances. You do not have to split separate property in a divorce.
Community property, on the other hand, is property that you and your spouse acquired during the marriage. You must split up community property in a divorce. This includes physical property such as money, cars, houses, and furniture. It also includes any intangible assets such as stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts.
Know Your State’s Property Ownership System
Each state has a different ownership system when it comes to how property is split in a divorce. There are two main types; equitable distribution and community property. Most states are equitable distribution states, like Florida. Equitable distribution means that property is split fairly, but not necessarily equally. It could be 50/50, but it could also be 60/40, 70/30, 80/20, or some other split. It will depend on factors such as each party’s income, earning potential, the length of the marriage, number of children, each party’s assets and debts, and their physical and mental health.
Hiding assets is not only unfair but also illegal. You could get in trouble and have to pay penalties. Be open and honest about your assets and debts from the get-go so you can avoid legal actions against you. Do not think you can go around this by trying to hide money in a bank account or in a secret place at home. Your spouse’s attorney can easily identify any assets you may be hiding. Instead, be upfront about all your marital property. This includes everything you have accumulated during your marriage. This is only fair; would you want your spouse to hide things from you?
Do Not Create Drama
You may not be happy about the divorce, but you need to act like a grownup. Do not bring drama into the courtroom and do not fight just for the sake of fighting. It is not a good look. If your case goes to court, a judge will make a decision based on the laws, not your emotions and wishes. Therefore, avoid being emotional and know that the judge will not make certain decisions simply because you want them to. Not everything is going to go your way, so you might as well accept that fact now.
Avoid Making Mountains Out of Molehills
Do not make a big deal over minor things. Are you arguing over the couch because you really want it or is it because you know your spouse wants it, so you want to make things difficult? Do not sweat the small stuff. Fight over the things that are truly important to you instead of wasting your energy on small, non-essential things.
Seek Legal Help
In a divorce, you will be required to split your assets. Do not try to make things harder for your spouse. The more you are able to negotiate and compromise, the better it will be.
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can guide you through all aspects of the divorce process, including property division. Our team is dedicated 100% to divorce and family law issues. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (954) 346-6464.