The division of financial assets: What comes into play?

If there comes a point when divorce is on your mind, it's only natural to turn your attention to the division of property (both assets and debts).

While most people find that there is a lot to divide, some assets garner more attention than others. For instance, the division of financial assets is always at the top of the list.

While not always the case, it's not out of the question that someone could attempt to hide financial assets from the court. This is why you need to keep a close watch on everything your former partner is doing.

Here are some of the many types of financial assets that often come into play:

  • Cash on hand
  • Bank accounts (both savings and checking)
  • Educational accounts
  • Retirement accounts, including IRAs and 401(k) plans
  • Pensions
  • Profit sharing
  • Mutual funds, stocks and bonds
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Life insurance cash value
  • Annuities

How these assets are divided depends on a variety of factors, including ownership. For instance, if you purchased a certificate of deposit before your marriage, it may not be subject to property division.

Conversely, if an account has both people's name on it, such as a bank account, it will be part of the property division process.

The division of financial assets is important, but the same holds true for any debt that you're carrying. For instance, you may have a lot of cash on hand, but you could also have joint credit card debt. This will need to be taken care of as well.

You should never go into the divorce process with the idea that the division of financial assets will be straightforward. You may be lucky and be able to work through everything in a timely manner, but you shouldn't expect this to happen. There could be a few sticking points along the way that slow you down.

By understanding your legal rights and having a list of all financial assets up front, you're in better position to receive what you deserve and put the process in the past once and for all.

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