When divorce comes knocking, many couples do not anticipate just how complicated the process is, especially when a marriage contains complex assets. While getting married is a fairly straightforward process, achieving a fair divorce is rarely ever as simple.
When you and your spouse decide to divorce, there are many different ways that might play out, depending on each of your priorities. For some couples, a divorce is saying goodbye indefinitely, while others wish to maintain a functional relationship, often for the sake of children.
The truth of the matter is that achieving a fair divorce depends greatly on each spouse determining what is truly most important to them and working toward that goal. In the case of property division, this is especially true.
In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, you and your spouse must agree on how to divide nearly every asset and liability either of you hold. It is almost always preferable to agree upon this division before you get to the courtroom, where a judge may divide your property for you in a way that neither spouse enjoys.
When it comes to complex assets like real estate or businesses, it is helpful to enlist the guidance of an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of valuing different assets and liabilities and recommending fair solutions.
Who gets the house?
A house is a complicated asset, and is often the cornerstone of a couple's property division conflict. For many couples, the family home is the most significant asset either of them possess, but as any homeowner can tell you, it is not only an asset.
Owning and maintaining a home is often expensive. A homeowner faces taxes and repair fees that others do not face. Furthermore, if you and your spouse bought the home through a joint mortgage, removing one spouse from the mortgage often requires qualifying for an entirely new mortgage on the single income of the individual keeping the home.
Many couples find this impractical, but only realize it once the divorce finalizes. It is wise to consider the true cost of keeping a home before making the hill you die on, so to speak.
Can the business survive the divorce?
If one or both spouses own a business, it may count as marital property. Most businesses are not simple, and attempting to clarify one spouse's rightful portion of the other spouse's business is complicated and time-consuming.
If one spouse wishes to keep the business and the other believes that they should receive a portion of the business's value, it is important to fully understand the real value of the business in order to create a fair division.
In many cases, this requires the owning spouse to compensate the other spouse by either buying out their share of the value, or by substituting other marital assets that approximate that value.
No matter what kind of assets you and your spouse must divide, there is a fair way to reach a divorce settlement agreement. However, the process is usually much more effective if you understand the full scope of your assets and liabilities before coming to the table. Do not hesitate to reach out for professional help to ensure that you protect your rights and privileges throughout your divorce.