When a marriage ends in divorce, there are tough decisions involved, including property division of assets you may have either brought into the relationship or purchased together as a couple. While there are various emotions involved during this time, it’s important to set realistic expectations and be cooperative with your spouse to save time and money, and spare hurt feelings during the property division process.
1. Make a List
During the property division process, it’s crucial to stay honest and transparent. Create a list of all assets, both personal and communal, and make sure to attach details such as the date it was acquired. This will make it easier later on when you and your spouse begin to separate your assets and debts into what typically are four categories:
- Real Estate – your family home, vacation property, land, business property
- Personal Property – vehicles, artwork, jewelry, appliances, and other general household assets
- Financial Assets – retirement accounts, pensions, savings accounts, checking accounts, stocks, bonds, cash, and life insurance policies
- Business Assets – cash, property, equipment, vehicles, and inventory
- Debt – credit card debt and loans
2. Set Values
After listing all personal and marital assets, you need to determine a value for each item based on “fair market value.” Financial assets, such as checking accounts, retirement accounts, and cash are valued by their current balance at the time of divorce, while real estate value is calculated by the current resale value on the market, minus outstanding debts, such as a mortgage.
For personal property, such as vehicles, you can use Kelly Blue Book to determine a vehicle’s market value, and for household items, such as appliances, jewelry, etc. a good practice for determining fair market value is to ask yourself, “how much would this item sell in its ‘as is’ condition at a garage sale or online?”
3. Remain Logical
Divorces can be emotional and stressful. When working with your spouse to divide property, keep in mind what is most important to you in the short-term and long-term – do you really want the family house, or does it make more sense for your spouse to keep it or jointly sell it and split the profit? Knowing going into the property division process what’s most important to you, and knowing what’s best for your present and future financial health, can help save your family time and stress.
4. Be Cooperative
Emotions often run high in divorce, especially when dividing assets. During property division, it’s important to remember to not get caught up in little things, like who gets the TV you just bought or an antique rug you cherish. You can always buy a new TV or a rug that you might like even more. Something you can’t buy though is setting the foundation for a positive, civil relationship post-divorce.
Contact Our St. Louis Property Division Attorneys
The tips above are just some of the things you can do to prepare for the property division process. Divorce and property division can be stressful, for not just you and your spouse, but any children involved. Our experienced family law attorneys are prepared to help you close this painful chapter in your life and move on to the next. When you need help dividing assets due to divorce, contact Rogers Sevastianos & Bante, LLP for a free, personalized consultation with our team of experienced divorce attorneys in St. Louis.