If you plan to ask your spouse for a divorce or are already moving down this path, it's time to turn your attention to your assets. Doing so now allows you to remain better organized as the divorce process unfolds.
A property division checklist should consist of all your assets, with each one falling into one of these categories:
- Personal property: Examples include motor vehicles, collectibles, clothing, furniture, antiques, rugs, guns, electronics, jewelry and artwork
- Real estate property: Examples include the family home, vacation home, rental property and undeveloped land
- Financial assets: Examples include bank accounts, retirement accounts, educational accounts, cash, profit sharing, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, certificates of deposit, annuities, trusts and life insurance policy cash values
- Business assets: Examples include commercial real estate, office equipment and financial assets associated with the business (such as bank accounts)
Once you have a checklist in order, you can then separate the property into two additional categories:
Separate property is anything you brought into the marriage, such as if you owned your car before tying the knot. Marital property is anything you acquired while you were married. Generally speaking, separate property is not subject to property division, while marital property is.
Once you have a property division checklist guiding you, it's easier to prepare for the divorce process.
As long as you keep an open mind and are willing to compromise, you're putting yourself in position to handle everything associated with property division without adding too much additional stress.
The sooner you turn your attention to your assets and legal rights, the better off you'll be.