All aspects in a divorce can be tough, but dividing assets is probably the most difficult. Dividing property or equitable division must have a satisfactory result for both parties. However, your divorce can go a bit more smoothly if you and your spouse agree amicably on dividing the most contested assets. It helps if you have an experienced Brisbane divorce lawyer on your side. Also, it is essential to know the laws on assets of your state in a divorce.
One of the first things you should do is seek out all the professionals you need for the entire period of divorce. While you should have your own lawyer to legally help dissolve the marriage or to initiate the separation, you may need other specialists along the way. When looking for your professional team, it usually includes:
Family law attorney
Tax specialist or accountant
Arbitrators and mediators
Real estate agent
Mortgage planner or broker
Make a List of all Assets and Debts
Listing assets is one way to help reach a fair divorce settlement. The comprehensive list you file is vital for dividing property. Marital assets comprise of all properties, investments, businesses, accounts, and others with cash value association. It is advisable to document all your assents before the start of property dividing process.
Create categories in your list for the different assets and add details about each of them in case your divorce lawyer or the lawyer of your spouse asks some questions.
The list should include:
Personal, shared, retirement accounts
All your credit cards
Investments such as annuities, stocks, bonds, intellectual properties, life insurance and retirement funds
Cars, motorcycles, trailers, boats, etc.
Real estate assets, income-generating properties, land, and vacation homes
Personal belongings of value, including art, antiques, jewelry, etc.
In addition, identify the list of assets you owned when you were single, those you received as gifts during the marriage, and the ones you inherited while married. The court may exclude them from equitable division. Note that excluded property can get complicated, so you will want to ask your divorce lawyer about it.
List of Debts. As with excluded property, the other spouse is not responsible for any debt that is brought into the marriage. But the debt acquired during the marriage is divided equally during a divorce. Equality is not so much the goal in dividing debt, because the court may assign more debt to the spouse who is granted more property or has a higher income.
Family debt often includes:
Bank lines of credit
In addition, include those debts that either of you incurred after separation if the fund was used for family property.
Review all the paperwork. During a divorce, you want to be sure if there was a cohabitation agreement or prenuptial agreement that was signed earlier in the relationship. Ask the expertise of a divorce lawyer if this agreement includes property.
Distribution of property in a divorce can cause disputes to arise between the two parties. In such a case, family law attorneys or divorce mediators will help the divorcing couple come to an agreement. The lawyers will request documents like deeds, request for a formal disclosure, gather depositions from others to determine ownership, questions the spouses, etc., to determine the property involved.
Who gets the House and the Car?
Deciding who will keep the marital home is often a big discussion in a divorce. If there are kids involved, the judge is likely to award the home to the parent who has the main custody of the children. But this decision is not always a guarantee.
Another area of dispute in most divorce cases is the vehicles of the couple. Cars are not automatically awarded to the spouse who holds title. If one spouse owns a vehicle alone, it may still be considered marital property. But things can be straightforward if each spouse has their own car, as they will probably retain the one they drive regularly. The matter will only become more complicated if the couple have a collection of vehicles, or antique collector cars.
Family Businesses and Retirement Benefits
Family-owned businesses are complicated aspects of property division. The court takes into account the value of the business now and in the future. A small business that is jointly owned by the divorcing couple can possible be divided without a problem. A buyout agreement is an option for this, wherein one spouse buys out the portion owned by the other. As a result, one party gets the business while the other party receives financial compensation.
Payments from abjoint business can be done a specified period so that both parties benefit from its financial success. There are also separation clauses, indicating various areas of the business are awarded to each party. While uncommon, some divorcing couples opt to remain business partners.
Another reason for disagreement during a divorce is the retirement benefits. Many working spouses think that the ownership of retirement benefits belong to them. However, the court may consider retirement benefits as marital property, which gives the right to the other spouse some portions of value or payment. If you are facing a divorce and it involves a retirement plan, ask your divorce lawyer to include a QDRO decree to help determine which spouse will receive what from the retirement benefits.
Agreements between spouses over property divisions can speed up the process as well as keep an open line of communication on both parties. These are favorable for those with shared custody of minor children. The key to a peaceful division of assets in a divorce depends on the willingness to be fair and cooperation. Both of your attorneys should obtain specific information in order to protect all parties.
When dividing assets and making a claim, make sure that it is within the legal time limits. In general, common-law spouses have about two years from the separation date, while married spouses also have two years from the divorce date. Talk to your divorce lawyer if your case is outside of these timeframes.