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What should you know about property division?

Divorce is, just as its name suggests, a division. The relationship is ending, both parties are going their separate ways and who is taking what with them needs to be settled. In general, the fewer the assets, the easier the property division process, but this is largely dependent on how well the two parties are able to cooperate.

The first part of the process is to get a running list of all of the property and assets that both of you have. This includes the marital home, joint bank accounts and family vehicles. However, other assets, such as the furnishings inside the home, recreational vehicles, vacation or rental properties, personal bank accounts that were used to provide for the family, and incomes from stocks, bonds and businesses, are also part of the marital assets.

Debts must also be divided. This can get especially tricky because it's common for the party with the best credit to be the one named on many of the credit cards or loans incurred during the marriage. However, this doesn't mean that that person is solely responsible for those debts. Debts must be divided equitably just like assets.

Keep in mind that equitable division is the same thing as an equal division. Many couples go into the divorce process expecting it to be a 50/50 split, but this is rarely the case. Things like nonmonetary contributions to the household — as in one person staying home to raise the kids while the other person works — can also come into play. It's important to be aware of your rights as you work through the property division process to ensure you aren't agreeing to an unfair settlement.

Source: FindLaw, "Checklist: Issues To Discuss With Your Divorce Attorney," accessed July 06, 2016

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