Facing a divorce can feel completely overwhelming. There are many aspects to consider, one of the most notable of which is the process of separating your assets. Many couples have at least one or two invested assets that they mutually executed, while others could have hundreds in investments, currencies, or other types of declared assets. Determining the process of separation in a way that is as mutually beneficial as possible can help to significantly streamline your divorce process. A seasoned lawyer and legal team can help to make this process efficient. In this article, we explore what the asset separation process looks like in divorce cases, and dive into detail about what you can expect when it comes to separating common assets vs. uncommon assets.
Separating your assets throughout the process of divorce helps to ensure a fair resolution for everybody involved. While every divorce is different, the general first step when it comes to asset division is to categorize your assets into two main groups: marital property vs. individual property. These categories are helpful to determine what ought to be shared, and what is clearly individual.
- Marital property is anything that has been earned, purchased, or otherwise gained over the course of the marriage prior to the divorce process. Determining what falls into this category may require the help of an attorney or mediator, as spouses may have differing opinions of what would constitute true marital property.
- Individual property is items that were previously owned prior to the date of the marriage. There are other subcategorizations, such as a one-sided gift that may have occurred over the course of the marriage.
Properly determining this categorization is crucial, as often the topic cannot be revisited in court unless there is a predetermined exception to be made.
Your presiding judge over your case will work to create an equitable solution for all. Your legal team can help you to ensure that your interests are protected wherever possible. The judge may consider several facets of your unique situation, including:
- Length of the marriage
- Occupations or other sources of income
- Spousal ability to earn livable income on an individual basis
There are finer nuances to the division process. For example, many couples choose to invest in assets that may appreciate over time, such as stocks or alternative currency. In these cases, determining fair division of these is generally up to the judge’s discretion and the laws of the state that you reside in. In Utah legal cases, the appreciation is usually determined to be marital property and can be up for redistribution, even if the original asset is considered individual property.
Often, there are other divisions that come up throughout the court processes that you may not have otherwise considered. Items such as:
- Debts from properties or other financial obligations
- Boats or other types of invested transport assets
- Retirement assets
There are of course other types of assets that you may have acquired in your marriage, but your legal team can help to assure that you receive the fairest payout possible. Unlike other states, this payout and division may not be an even 50/50. Sometimes, the judge may rule a different outcome based on what they deem is equitable after looking at several factors such as the overall length of the marriage, among others.
There are also other considerations that the judge must weigh throughout the division process that can help to streamline the decision. Predetermined agreements within the marriage, such as prenuptial agreements, may impact the division of these assets and serve as a foundation for the division process. Any such agreements are allowed to be referenced in court in order to help the case to resume and come to a full resolution.
When determining value, the judge may or may not weigh the weight of sentimental value attached to an object. This is especially true with material assets (vs. intangible assets) such as household items or collectibles that you may have acquired over the course of the marriage. With this in mind, many create lists or collaborate with their soon-to-be ex-spouse to determine what their preferences would be and submit these to the courts. This is especially easy to do if both parties remain amicable and speak throughout the court process. Alternatively, for these types of items, the court may disregard prior preferences, claims or other associations of value and simply split equitably based on an item’s determined retail value from various sources.
When undergoing the divorce process, it is especially important to have an attorney be a resource to you in order to ensure that your preferences are respected and protected wherever possible. For more information, contact the experts at Ascent Law by calling (801) 432-8682. With years of experience and hundreds of cases won, we are committed to providing you with the highest quality of legal counsel at every step in the divorce process.