Property Considerations for Divorcing Couples

Divorcing couples face many issues they have to resolve, such as how to continue sharing parenting responsibilities, whether they will keep or sell a business or home, and more. When divorcing couples think of property matters, they may likely immediately think of how they will divide their shared--or marital--property. While this is an important part of divorce, there are several other property considerations of which divorcing couples may be unaware. The following are some of the property considerations that divorcing couples may face.

Division of Marital Property

To some, property division may seem relatively simple and may only require “you get this, I get that” decisions. However, such determinations may be quite complicated. Prior to dividing any property, you must identify separate property from marital property, which may be difficult if assets or property has been commingled. Additionally, much marital property will be difficult to split down the middle, such as furniture, collections, and other possessions. You must also consider all types of accounts, such as investments, money markets, IRAs, and more.

Division of Debt

Divorcing couples must also divide responsibility for payment of any marital debts. Marital debts can also include accounts in only one person’s name that were accrued during the marriage. Sometimes, one spouse may accrue debt without the other even knowing, so debt division discussions may become contentious in such situations.

Tax Considerations

Spouses must agree on whether or not they will cooperate to file joint tax returns for the year in which their divorce was finalized. Deciding whether to file jointly or “married but separate” can have a huge impact on the tax liability or one or both spouses.

Wills, Trusts, and Beneficiaries

Divorcing spouses need not only determine what happens to the property they currently own, but also to their future property, as well. It is only natural for a person to name their spouse in a will or trust as the main recipient of their property after they die or as the primary beneficiary on financial accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and more. You should not wait until after your divorce to update your will, add an amendment to revocable trusts, or change your beneficiaries on your accounts. Additionally, if you do not have a will, you should seriously consider drafting one as soon as possible. This is because if something happens to you during the divorce process, your spouse will still receive everything instead of your children or other beneficiaries of your choice. While you likely do not want to think about the possibility of dying in the near future, death during divorce does occur, so you should update all of these documents as soon as possible.

Business Interests

If married spouses own a business, they must decide how to divide their business interests. There are several options through which this may be done, including selling the entire business and dividing the profits, having one spouse buy out the other’s interests, or continuing to run the business together (if possible).

There may be more property considerations you face depending on your particular situation. An experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney can identify any property concerns and can guide you through the divorce process. Please do not hesitate to call the law office of Alan R. Burton for help today.