Divorce can be an arduous experience depending on how long the couple has been married and whether it’s a contested divorce or uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce the spouses come to a mutual agreement on everything and do not require the intervention of the court to divide any marital assets, marital debts, or make a verdict about spousal or child support or custody. An uncontested divorce is typically an easy process that has a less financial burden on the divorcing parties. A contested divorce, where the divorce parties cannot agree either about getting divorced or about the circumstances of the divorce, like the custody of children, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or the division of assets. In a contested divorce, unless the parties ultimately reach a settlement, the court (a Superior Court Judge) will make the final determination of the equitable division of all the parties assets once the parties have provided all their arguments and evidence.
Typically a contested divorce can be nerve wracking and can cause the members of the divorce party to overlook some small details. It often happens that during the division of assets certain items are overlooked either because they are considered insignificant or because they are labeled as small assets like art, collectibles, or furniture. The majority if items obtained during the marriage can be considered marital property and can be a divorce asset. Some of the commonly overlooked assets that are still valuable are timeshares, which are sometimes worth less than what is still owned on it, if that’s the case it must be decided on selling it, letting it foreclose, or one of the spouses keeping it.
Prepaid insurance should not be forgotten, since all payments are made in advance, it is recommended to consider them when assets are divided. Tax refunds, if filed jointly, are often agreed to be divided by the parties in a divorce case. Frequent flyer points can be a problematic to split; what is recommended is to have free tickets made out in the other spouses’ name or estimate the value of the miles and award the other spouse the appropriate amount. Stock options are also to be taken into consideration, if the spouse has the option of purchasing an employer’s stock at a set price, they retain the option to purchase that stock at the same price sometime in the future, if they choose to do so.
Also in a divorce, vacation pay can also be divided, estimate the amount based on the spouses’ pay rate and divide accordingly, this is also true for sick pay. Photographs can also be a divorce asset, if they are considered irreplaceable to the couple, reproductions can be made but it could become costly. Collections should not be forgotten, if it proves to be valuable that can be divided between the divorcing parties. Pets are not to be forgotten, certain animals can have a great value if they are prized or are used for the purpose of breeding prized animals. Patents are typically on the not remembered list, but they are also eligible to be divided if it is developed during the marriage. If one the spouses’ owned a business and they are expecting to continue to have a profitable venture, the goodwill from that business can also be subject to equitable distribution.
Movies, music, and other forms of digital media entertainment should not be written off. Those purchases can easily add up and to replace them after a divorce can be costly. Clothes, jewelry and shoes can sum up to be a sizable amount if they are considered expensive and that monetary amount is subject to distribution of they were purchased during the marriage. Lastly, money that is saved in the form of 401(k)’s, IRA’s or some other retirement plan can also be divided. Getting access to that information can take some time, depending on whether the other spouse is willingly to cooperate or is going to oppose every step. Prior to the divorce, it is recommended to take either a video, photographic, or written inventory of the assets that are to be divided, as a precaution. If you are facing an uncontested divorce or contested divorce and need experienced legal advice on the division of assets, call 770-609-1247 to speak with one of our knowledgeable divorce attorneys.