17 May Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney to Ensure Fair Division of Assets
You and your spouse likely accumulated a lot of property together while you were married. Now that you have decided to divorce, there may be disagreement about who takes ownership of joint assets. Forty-one states are equitable distributions states when it comes to marital property and nine follow community property laws. However, deciding on what is equitable is often open to individual interpretation. Also, what is legally equitable is usually not equal. An experienced family law attorney can assist you with navigating this common legal issue so you and your future ex-spouse can get on with your lives.
Determining Marital and Separate Property
Without a prenuptial agreement, most states consider all assets that a couple accrued during their marriage as joint property. If one of the spouses inherited an item or owned it prior to the marriage, he or she retains sole ownership. It gets complicated when one spouse owned an asset prior to the marriage but both spouses paid for it, such as a home mortgage. Another typical example is a bank account maintained by the husband or wife as a single person that the couple merged into a joint account after marriage.
Assessing the Value of Marital Assets
Divorcing couples often have different opinions about how much marital assets are worth. In this situation, a law firm would recommend obtaining an assessment from a neutral third party such as a professional appraiser. Retirement, 401K, and other financial accounts may require working with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Allowing professionals to determine these matters ensures the most equitable outcome for both parties.
Going to Court to Determine Property Division
Couples going through a divorce have the option of splitting their assets on their own, although this is often not possible. When they can’t reach an agreement, the couple must go to court and present their individual cases to a judge. Your attorney will help you prepare for this hearing by determining answers to the judge’s questions in advance.
Get Help for Yourself at This Difficult Time
A divorce is stressful even in the most amicable of situations. When conflict arises about the division of assets, it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced divorce attorney who will ensure that you receive your fair share.