Divorce 101: How to Divide Your Assets Fairly

One of the most important things divorcing couples need to do is divide their assets; however, fairly dividing your property and belonging can be tricky. Here's what you need to know about dividing things fairly during a divorce.

When you and your partner make the decision to separate, you'll have a lot more decisions to make. You'll need to decide where you'll live, how you'll share custody of your children, and where your kids will go to school. You'll also need to decide how to divide your assets in a way that is fair and appropriate. For many couples, dividing their assets is one of the hardest parts of divorce. It's normal for physical objects to hold sentimental value, which means parting with them can be quite difficult. As you and your partner prepare to divide your physical assets, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

1. Communicate your desires

Make sure you express yourself clearly and precisely when you're talking about assets with your partner. It's possible that your ex doesn't know which items you want. In this case, it's important to express yourself. Regardless of how long you were married, your ex isn't a mind reader. If you want that painting the two of you bought at a flea market ten years ago, tell them. If you have your heart set on the summer home up at the lake, share this. One of the best things you can do early on in the division process is to share your feelings.

2. Have items appraised

Make sure you have large assets appraised. Things like your cars, homes, or rental properties should all be properly appraised before you divide them. This not only ensures you get a fair market price if you choose to sell the items, but it also enables you and your spouse to buy each other out of certain items. For example, if you want a car that your partner does not, you can simply offer half of the cash value to your partner, but in order to do this, the item will need to be appraised.

3. Provide documentation

If there are certain items that you believe to be solely yours and not shared marital property, make sure you provide documentation for this. Items that may not need to be divided or shared with your partner sometimes include physical assets you owned prior to the marriage or items you inherited from a relative or family member. If you believe something is not shared marital property, aim to show paperwork or other proof that the item belongs to you alone.

4. Meet with a mediator

In some cases, you may feel too stressed or anxious to communicate clearly with your partner. Depending on the situation surrounding your divorce, you may need to meet with a mediator who can help you and your partner express your wishes in a non-confrontational way. This can be an effective way to move forward with the process of dividing your belongings.

No matter what circumstances led to your divorce, it's important to meet with a family attorney as soon as possible who can help you through the divorce process and the division of assets. Your lawyer is a valuable resource, so don't wait. Reach out today.