Making the decision to end a marriage is often very difficult and emotional. Many divorces involve one or two spouses who may feel hurt, betrayed, unsatisfied, guilty, angry and sad. These emotions are completely normal during such a difficult time, but they can end up clouding a person’s mind when it comes to more logical processes involved in a divorce such as dividing up assets and properties.
Simply put, a person’s emotions can make a significant difference in any property division agreement. A person who may feel guilty about infidelity may initially want to give in to the excessive demands of the other spouse. On the other hand, a spouse who has bitter or angry feelings toward a soon-to-be ex may withhold assets that have no meaning out of spite.
People who are driven solely by emotion also run the risk of overlooking some significant assets that should be divided equally.
It may be easy to identify a cabin, cars, homes, joint bank accounts and investments as marital property that is eligible for equitable distribution. But were there any gifts exchanged during a marriage? If so, these items would also generally be considered marital property and the items or the value of the items would be divided equally between two spouses.
Employment and government assets can also be divided in a divorce. These assets would include a 401(k), stock options, intellectual property (which can continue to generate a profit for many years) and tax refunds.
There may also be social and personal assets to consider. For instance, it can be easy for a person to forget that potentially valuable collections may be considered marital property, as would travel rewards, pets, and memberships to exclusive or expensive golf or country clubs.
Many assets can get overlooked or ignored by a person who is struggling with a divorce emotionally. It is for that reason that many people in Minnesota choose to work with an attorney who can serve as a more objective party when it comes to determining whether a property division agreement is fair. An attorney can also help guide spouses through a difficult process and make sure their best interests are protected.
Source: Forbes, “Divorcing Women: Don’t Forget These Marital Assets,” Jeff Landers, Oct. 16, 2013