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Asset division and divorce: Start with a checklist

There are many things that can pop up during the divorce process and cause serious disagreement, with asset division always near the top of the list.

It doesn’t matter how many assets you share or what they’re worth, you must take steps to protect your legal rights. This is the only way to give yourself peace of mind as you move through the process.

Since asset division is likely to be a sticking point, it’s best to plan as far in advance as possible. By creating a checklist, you have a clear idea of the many assets that require your attention during your divorce. Furthermore, this is a place to differentiate between separate and marital property.

You can lay out your checklist however you best see fit, but most assets will fit into the following categories:

  • Real estate: Family home, vacation homes, rental properties, business properties and land.
  • Personal property: This is often the most extensive category, as it includes assets such as china, antiques, furniture, collectibles, guns, clothing, jewelry, home office equipment, motor vehicle and recreational vehicles.
  • Financial assets: This has the potential to be the most valuable category, with assets such as bank accounts, cash, retirement accounts, stocks and bonds, certificates of deposit, life insurance policies, pensions and annuities.
  • Business assets: This is only something to include if one or both of you owns a stake in a business. Common assets include business bank accounts, commercial real estate and office equipment and furniture.

Keep in mind the importance of adding every asset to your checklist. This isn’t just a place for your most valuable assets, such as your family home and motor vehicles. It can and should include every asset that is subject to division.

As you tally your assets, you should do the same with your liabilities. These also require division during your divorce, so it’s a must to focus just as much time on them.

With a checklist in hand, you’ll feel more comfortable as you move toward the divorce process and begin to hash out the details with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. A checklist doesn’t guarantee anything, but it gives you something to lean on as you attempt to protect your legal rights.


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