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Marital property division: Use a checklist to your advantage

If you decide to divorce, you shouldn’t waste any time learning more about marital property and the division process.

Before you can do this, however, it’s important to answer this question: Do you know the difference between separate and marital property?

Separate property is exactly what it sounds like: an asset that you purchased before your marriage. An example of this could be a memorabilia collection that you compiled before you tied the knot.

Marital property, on the other hand, encompasses anything you purchased alongside your spouse during your marriage. A house, cars and furniture are three common examples of marital property.

Create a checklist

The more assets you have, the more challenging it will be to complete the divorce process. Fortunately, with the help of a property division checklist, you’ll clearly know what you need to divide in order to bring your marriage to a close.

Here are the four primary categories of a property division checklist, along with some common examples of assets that fit into each one:

  • Real property: Family home, vacation home, rental property, business property and undeveloped land.
  • Personal property: Home furnishings, china, artwork, antiques, rugs, collections, home office equipment, electronics, motor vehicles, clothing and recreational equipment.
  • Financial assets: Bank accounts, retirement accounts, cash on hand, educational accounts, pensions, IRAs, 401(k), mutual funds, stocks, bonds, annuities and trusts.
  • Business assets: Commercial real estate, business equipment and cash in business bank accounts.

What about debt?

It’s common to focus a lot of time and energy on property division, but that doesn’t mean you can overlook the importance of handling debt in a similar manner.

You may have many types of marital debt, including but not limited to: mortgage, car loans, personal loans and credit cards. Just the same as your assets, all debts are subject to division.

You can expect to run into some challenges regarding marital property division, as both individuals are fighting to secure as many assets as possible.

Although you are unable to take everything with you from your marriage, there are steps you can follow to feel good about what you are able to retain.

The more you learn about property division, marital property and your legal rights the better off you will be.