One of the most difficult legal issues in a dissolution of marriage is the divorce asset division. Any couple that has acquired assets during the term of their marriage must come to difficult decisions on how these assets will be divided once the marriage is over. This is a very crucial step in having the divorce granted, and every couple must come to an agreement before the proceedings can continue.
What Types Of Assets Are Divided?
All assets of a marriage must be divided during the divorce. This includes:
- House that the couple shared
- Additional properties that the couple may own such as vacation homes, rental properties, commercial properties or vacant land
- Bank accounts
- Investment accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Future pensions
- Vehicles, both daily use and recreational
- Valuables and collectibles
- Household items
Marital assets are generally viewed as any and all assets that were acquired during the course of the marriage. In most cases, it does not matter who purchased or invested into the asset, only that it occurred during the time that the couple was married.
Who Is Entitled To What Asset?
Divorce asset division can become very complicated when the couple is trying to determine who is entitled to what asset. Each Tulsa divorce lawyer will have to carefully examine who purchased the asset and for what reason and during what period of the marriage.
Each party will also have to take into account the length of the marriage. A couple that divorces after 25 years of marriage will have their assets divided differently than a couple who is divorced after six months.
Negotiations will take place between both parties to determine who is actually entitled to what asset. There are many urban legends surrounding who is given what during a divorce. Each party is encouraged to speak with their personal Tulsa divorce lawyer about their rights to the assets to avoid believing any of these myths.
Hot Topics In Asset Division
One of the most controversial parts of asset division is retirement accounts and pension benefits. In most cases, if one spouse has been a homemaker for a majority of the marriage, they will be entitled to receive retirement benefits from the other spouse, even if the other spouse was the sole contributor to the fund. This also applies to pension benefits. This division of assets will be based on the length of the marriage and the potential for the unemployed spouse to gain employment and prepare for their future.
The Court will be very strict about making sure that a spouse who spent their marriage managing the home and any children of the marriage is not left without a way to care for themselves when they reach retirement age.
Another hot topic area is in regard to assets that were owned prior to the marriage. In most cases, any assets owned by the individual prior to the marriage remain their property. There are some cases where this may not apply. Your attorney will review the facts surrounding these assets and protect your rights to keep them if they qualify as personal.
A final area that brings a lot of controversy during the division of assets process is gifts. If one spouse gives a valuable gift to the other it may or may not qualify as a marital asset. Again, the facts surrounding the gift and its use will need to be reviewed by the attorneys.
The Negotiations Process
It is very important that both parties try to enter the negotiations process with open minds and their emotions set on the side. You and your attorney both understand that this is a very difficult time for you and that emotions are weighing very heavily on the entire process. However, going into these negotiations with a positive attitude will allow the process to go more easily on you and help bring this situation to a close.
Both parties are encouraged to do the following when entering into the negotiations process:
- Bring all documentation requested to each meeting. Forgetting or refusing to provide asset documentation will only prolong the process and cause more hard feelings. It is important to remember that if you refuse to supply the necessary documents, the other party can approach the Court and have you compelled to produce the paperwork and proof requested.
- Avoid trying to hide assets or their values. At the same time, avoid overvaluing assets. Make sure that everything is as accurate as possible. This is the only way to have a fair division.
- Treat each other with respect. This is a very difficult time for both of you. Arguing and accusations will only prolong the process and delay the time when you can begin healing from your emotional pain.
- Be fair. You know how these assets should be distributed and why. Trying to withhold assets or trying to get more than your rightful share is usually just an act of revenge. Each party knows what is really right and wrong.
- Work with your attorney. Your attorney has the experience of working on many divorce cases and is knowledgeable about the laws surrounding the division of assets. You hired an attorney to protect your rights, and that is exactly what they will do.
This Is Only One Part Of The Divorce
It is very important to remember that the division of marital assets is only one part of the divorce. The couple will also need to negotiate the division of their debts as part of the terms of their divorce. Establishing child custody and support issues will also be a very large part of the divorce if minor children are involved.
Divorce is rarely simple. The Dissolution of Marriage requires that two people separate everything in their lives and become two individuals again. This can be an expensive process, especially for longer marriages.
Couples who are facing a divorce are encouraged to work with a professional Tulsa divorce attorney so that they can protect their rights as an individual and work through the divorce process in an efficient and timely manner. Divorce is never easy, but it does not have to be impossible.