Division of Property in a Divorce
For anyone who has been married for a considerable amount of time, especially later in life, one of the most difficult parts of divorce can be dividing all of your assets. Deciding who gets what, who is entitled to what, making an equal split as far as monetary value, etc. is time consuming and emotionally charged. There are so many steps, and everything down to the napkin rings should be accounted for in a typical divorce decree.
Process of Dividing Assets
A family law attorney can help you know which steps to take when splitting up everything in a marriage. In order to make sure everything is accounted for it is important to go through a step by step process very thoroughly and carefully. Lawyers are professionals and have done this many times before. They can not only tell you what the process is, but how to navigate it smoothly.
Identification of assets and debts: The first step is to compile a comprehensive list of all the assets and debts owned by both spouses. This typically includes properties, bank accounts, investments, vehicles, household items, retirement accounts, business interests, and any outstanding loans or credit card debts.
Characterization of assets: Assets are categorized as either marital property or separate property. Marital property generally includes assets acquired during the marriage, regardless of which spouse acquired them, while separate property usually consists of assets acquired before the marriage or through gifts or inheritance.
Valuation of assets: The next step is to determine the value of each asset, which may involve obtaining professional appraisals for certain items such as real estate or valuable collectibles. Valuation is important to ensure an equitable distribution of assets.
Consideration of factors: When dividing the assets, various factors are taken into account to determine a fair distribution. These factors may vary depending on the jurisdiction but often include the duration of the marriage, the financial contributions of each spouse, the earning potential of each spouse, the standard of living during the marriage, and the needs of any dependent children.
Negotiation or mediation: Spouses, with the help of their respective attorneys or a mediator, may attempt to negotiate a settlement agreement regarding the division of assets. This approach allows for more control over the outcome and can save time and costs compared to going to court.
Court proceedings: If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement through negotiation or mediation, the property division issues may be resolved through litigation. Each spouse presents their case, and a judge makes the final decision based on the applicable laws and the evidence presented.
Execution of the division: Once an agreement is reached or a court order is issued, the division of assets is implemented. This may involve transferring ownership of specific assets, selling assets and distributing the proceeds, or offsetting the value of assets by awarding one spouse a greater share of other assets or future income.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Having a lawyer on your side during the division of property in a divorce could make all the difference in you getting what is rightfully yours. Many people who try to settle themselves without legal counsel end up settling for a lot less than what they are entitled to. Lawyers are also less biased and can help balance emotions, and be a support throughout this painful process.
Lawyers provide legal guidance and advice on how property division works in your jurisdiction. They can explain the relevant laws, rights, and obligations related to property division during divorce.
Asset Identification and Evaluation
Lawyers help in identifying all the assets that are subject to division, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, vehicles, retirement accounts, businesses, and personal belongings. They also assist in obtaining valuations of the assets, especially for complex or high-value properties.
Documentation and Investigation
Lawyers assist in gathering all the necessary documents related to the assets, such as deeds, titles, financial statements, tax returns, and appraisals. They may also conduct investigations, if needed, to ensure that all assets are disclosed and accounted for during the division process.
Negotiation and Mediation
Lawyers can represent your interests and negotiate on your behalf during discussions with your spouse or their lawyer. They help develop a strategy for achieving a fair division of property and work to reach a settlement through negotiation or mediation, which can save time and costs compared to going to court.
If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation or mediation, lawyers can represent you in court proceedings. They present your case, advocate for your interests, and present evidence to support your position on property division. They are skilled at navigating the legal system and can ensure your rights are protected.
Alimony and Child Support Considerations
Property division may also intersect with issues such as alimony (spousal support) and child support. Lawyers can help you understand the impact of property division on these matters and ensure a comprehensive approach to the financial aspects of divorce.
Even after the divorce is finalized, lawyers can assist with enforcing property division orders or modifying them if circumstances change. They can help resolve any disputes or conflicts that may arise regarding the division of property.
Affordable Legal Options in Toledo, Ohio
The attorneys at Affordable Family Law know the necessity of having a good legal team on your side, and strive to make great lawyers available to more people regardless of financial circumstances. We believe that family law is important, and want the experience to be as pain free for you as possible. During the divorce process, it is important to secure the help of a qualified family law attorney with experience in dividing property. Their advice will ensure that you reach a fair and equitable division of property in a divorce case. Contact us today for a consultation with our team!