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Even if you don’t have kids, the process of dividing marital assets during a divorce can be tough, especially, if the other partner is unreasonable. This is one of the many troubles that an experienced divorce attorney can help with, but there are ways of doing it yourself – ways that you can establish an agreement with your ex-spouse outside of court.
Beginning the Property Division Process
Depending on the amount of property you own together, property division can either be long and complex or simple and short. But it all starts with taking an inventory of everything you as a couple acquired during your marriage; anything that was yours or theirs before the marriage is not marital property.
Regardless of how you feel towards your partner, it is in your best interest to be as open, fair, and honest as possible. Even if you have money stashed away in a personal bank account, it is still considered marital property.
You Can’t Hide Marital Property
Many divorcees think they can hide marital assets like money, but these are the first thing that experienced divorce lawyers will look for during the divorce. To avoid being penalized later in the process, make sure to reveal all property at the beginning.
Even better, negotiating your own settlement without a mediator or going to court will save time, money, and a headache. Regardless, it is highly recommended that each individual have their own divorce lawyer to review all agreements before you sign them to make sure you are not settling for less or what is fair or equitable.
3 Tips to Divide Marital Assets During Divorce When you Can’t Come to an Agreement
1. Work with a mediator
A mediator can help you to work through some tough situations that may come out during the property division process. Some states require this during the divorce and others don’t. But if you can come to an agreement yourselves, you won’t need mediation.
If not, hiring a mediator will be the cost-effective option to help you work through this process before taking it to court.
2. Avoid fighting over the details
The living room couch may be expensive and match your curtains, but it’s not worth bickering over if it means you have to fight for it in court.
If you aren’t able to let it go, the judge couldn’t care less that the couch goes with the curtains. They will review what you have acquired during the marriage and order the property division according to your state laws, not your preferences.
So if you have either a financial or emotional investment in the marital property, the judge won’t be able to satisfy both of your wishes; only you and your ex-spouse can do that.
If you try to hide any assets from the courts, you will be breaking the law. Your divorce attorney has a “fiduciary duty” to provide legal advice and representation. You also have the same “fiduciary duty” to report all marital property from the day you marry your spouse until the day the divorce is final. If this is violated by any means, you will face legal consequences.
Legal consequences can include any of the following:
• Paying legal expenses during the search for the hidden assets
• Giving up the hidden assets to your ex-spouse
• Losing credibility with the judge
Marital property is divided according to state laws. In Texas, Wisconsin, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, and Louisiana, the property is divided according to the “community property” method, or divided 50/50.
All other states will follow the “equitable distribution” method, in which the property is divided fairly but not equally. This means that a spouse’s financial investment in the assets will be taken into consideration when dividing the property.
3. Familiarize yourself with your state’s law on property division
When negotiating property division with your spouse, you can gain the upper hand in court if you understand what your state’s law says. This will help you to understand what is and isn’t acceptable. The point to take away is to work with your spouse, avoid hiring a mediator if you can, don’t bicker about the small stuff, and don’t hide your assets.
Work with a Divorce Attorney
Regardless if you are able to come to an agreement with your spouse on property division or not, working with a divorce attorney is always recommended when going through a divorce. To ensure that you are walking away with a fair deal and you understand all details of the divorce, working with an attorney is a must.
If you live near the southwest side of Chicago or the southwest suburbs, check out the law offices of Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. in Oak Lawn, IL. Their divorce attorneys have over 50 years of combined legal experience in handling diverse cases in not only property division, but child custody, father’s rights, litigation, and more.
Request a Consultation
To request a consultation with a divorce lawyer, contact Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. at (708) 425-9530.