Property Division during a Divorce
No one stands at the alter with any intention other than being with their significant other for the rest of their life. Unfortunately, about half of all marriages end in divorce, so this dream obviously doesn’t come true for a large number of people. Going through a divorce is undoubtedly difficult, but dividing the marital assets when a relationship is coming to an end can make the whole process even more trying. This is why anyone facing a divorce should understand at least the basics of property division.
Property Division Laws
Just like most laws in America, property division laws will vary dependent upon which state a divorce takes place in. Unfortunately, there are difficulties involved regardless of which state a person lives in. Each state in America is either an equitable distribution or a community property state. States that practice equitable distribution will consider all factors in a divorce and divide property accordingly. Factors can include tax liabilities, emotional value of property and even the need of each spouse; and this is all considered in an effort to make a more equitable division.
In community property states, however, assets are merely divided right down the middle. This may seem ideal, but it actually presents a few problems. A divorce that takes place in San Bernardino, CA, for instance, a city that falls under community property laws, may end with one person receiving $4,000 in bonds while the other receives $4,000 in taxable assets. Sadly, though this may seem equal, it is not due to the fact that one spouse will have to pay taxes on their property while the other may not. Retaining a San Bernardino lawyer who practices divorce law would be necessary to help lookout for their clients best interests in such a case.
Preparing for the Divorce
There are various things that a person can do prior to a divorce if they hope to protect their rights during property division. The first thing to do is to gather all of the family’s financial statements. This includes statements related to bank accounts, stock portfolios, retirement accounts and even lines of credit. Joint accounts should be closed and at least one individual account should be opened. It’s also a good idea to remove half of monetary assets from joint accounts to put into that individual account.
It’s also imperative to separate certain gifts or heirlooms from the whole situation. Personal items that were given as individual gifts, rather than marital property, aren’t usually subject to division. An individual should take photos of these items before removing them from the marital home to ensure protection.
Speeding up the Process
There are thankfully a few methods of speeding up the whole property division process. In the aforementioned community property states, for instance, it can be helpful to have a civilized conversation with a soon-to-be-former spouse about who wants which pieces of property and how to divide them equally. Unfortunately, divorces are not often this civil; so hiring an experienced divorce lawyer is usually ideal.
A divorce attorney will be able to look at a couple’s assets and decide a fair way to distribute the property. Additionally, they can ensure that their client’s rights aren’t trampled on if the other spouse is trying to make the divorce more difficult than necessary. When every aspect of a divorce is considered, having legal help will definitely speed along the process.
Divorce is never going to be an easy process, but luckily, there are ways that a person can at least make it a bit easier on themselves. It’s important to remember during these times to not get discouraged. Going through a divorce may leave a person depressed and uncaring about which property they walk away with, but there’s little doubt that this feeling will eventually subside. Sadly, many people get over this feeling with the realization that they’ve lost everything in the divorce, so the best move a person can often make is to hire an attorney if they hope to protect their rights.
Lisa Coleman shares the impact divorce laws can have on property division in some states. She recently read online how a San Bernardino lawyer firm can help in such a case.
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