Divorcing spouses commonly make costly mistakes when they’re dividing their marital estates. One big mistake is to assume that just because one spouse identifies with a certain piece of property that it belongs to him or her. In fact, all marital property acquired during the course of your marriage must be divided between the spouses except when it comes to certain exempt property.
Imagine your husband has an expensive boat that he and his friends use every weekend. That boat is, according to your husband, “his boat.” In fact, the boat belongs to you as well if you and your husband acquired it during your marriage. As such, the value of the boat will likely need to be divided during your divorce.
Here are some other categories of property that you don’t want to forget to divide during your divorce proceedings:
- Your primary place of residence and other real estate property.
- Your jet skis, motorcycles, cars, boats and other vehicles.
- Your complicated assets like pension funds, investments and retirement money.
- Your business assets related to personally-owned, jointly-owned and family-owned businesses.
- Your home goods, personal belongings and other important items.
- Art and collectibles.
There may be other items you need to divide in your divorce proceedings. Whatever you do, be sure to understand what you and your spouse own together and what could be considered as separate property. Separate property in a divorce will be assets and debts owned by you or your spouse prior to marriage. However, if those assets accrued value after you got married, the increase in value may be divisible during your divorce. Ultimately, understanding your rights under asset division and marital property law will be essential as you navigate the dissolution of your marriage.