10 assets you might forget to include in your divorce

divorce assets

divorce assetsOften the divorcing couple doesn’t remember they have these items, or doesn’t consider them to be assets.

When you’re working through your divorce settlement, deciding who gets what, you are likely focusing on major considerations: house, cars, retirement accounts, investments. While these items are clearly important, many other assets are easily overlooked. Often the divorcing couple doesn’t remember they have these items, or doesn’t consider them to be assets.

Even if you think you don’t care about how they’re divided, keep in mind they have value; adding them to the pot not only increases the total amount of assets to be divided (which increases your share), but they also represent chips in your ongoing negotiation. If you were the more enthusiastic traveler in the marriage, for instance, you might be willing to give a little back on the home sale in order to secure frequent flier miles.

Here are some often overlooked assets to consider when you’re tallying up during a divorce:

Stock options: Your or your spouse may have stock options from your employer. This might seem like something with no value (particularly if they aren’t fully vested), but these options do have monetary value and can increase the total value of your joint assets.

Intellectual property: Copyright, patents, trademarks and even things like books that one of you has written—even if the copyright paperwork hasn’t been completed—have value.

Digital assets: Websites or blogs that either of you owns are assets. Even your social media accounts should be included in your settlement. Most likely, these accounts have no value (unless you have a large number of followers who have potential value for business reasons) but it’s important to establish who will own the accounts after the divorce.

Digital downloads: Movies, music, and e-books are expensive to replace, so be certain to include these items when tallying assets.

Frequent flyer miles and loyalty programs: You and your spouse probably have memberships in lots of loyalty programs and many of them accumulate points, particularly airline programs. Any loyalty program in either of your names is a marital asset and should be divided in the divorce.

Capital loss carryovers: Capital losses can be carried over from one year to the next on income taxes and such losses can reduce future taxes. If you are carrying a capital loss, make sure it is included in your settlement.

Loans: If you or your spouse has made personal loans to friends or family during the marriage using marital funds, the balance and interest due on those loans should be divided in your settlement.

Vacation pay: Paid time off accumulated at a job has a value and is a marital asset. Make sure this is taken into account.

Pets: Emotional attachments to pets can sometimes give rise to nasty “custody” battles, but beyond that aspect, your pet may also be a purebred or particularly valuable for some reason; if that’s the case, you should also include this in your list of assets.

Prepaid memberships: Any personal (for example, a gym) or professional memberships and subscriptions that have been paid for this year and for future years should be included if marital funds were used to pay for them.

Adding items to your total list of assets results in a larger total to divide and more for your half, but beyond that, thinking through what matters to you and to your soon-to-be ex can help devise a settlement that feels advantageous for both sides. A good lawyer can assist you in finding these “hidden” assets, and help decide what’s worth negotiating for as you work through your divorce.

Source: 10 assets you might forget to include in your divorce – AvvoStories

8 Ways To Simplify Your Divorce, According To Attorneys

simple divorce

Divorce, by nature, isn’t easy. Luckily, there are some things you can do that will make the process just a little less difficult.simple divorce

Below, divorce lawyers share their little-known tips.

1. Open a bank account in your own name.

“Couples who share a joint bank account should know that either one of them can drain the entire account under the banking laws. They will eventually have to pay their spouse their share, but it can take a while to get to that point in a case where a judge is ordering repayment. That’s why I advise everyone to have a separate bank account in their own name, even if the account is a secret. Chances are if the account has to be kept secret, you need it even more than you realize.”

2.  If you plan on explaining your rationale for divorce in a letter to your spouse, have a lawyer approve it first.

“When you’re the one who wants the divorce, there is often a lot of guilt associated with that decision. Many people want to explain their decision to their spouse, and that often takes the form of a heartfelt letter. That’s a really decent thing to do, and it comes from the right place. The problem, however, is that in writing these types of letters, people tend to take more of the responsibility for the breakup to help soften the blow. Handing over a bunch of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’-type statements in written form is never a good idea. Letters like that can become ‘Exhibit A’ in your ex’s case against you.”

 

3. It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion.

“If you have any concerns at all about the advice you are getting, do not be afraid to get another opinion. Any good lawyer will be glad you are doing that and will accept any good suggestions a respected colleague may have. You only have one chance to handle your divorce well and you have a right to be confident in the advice you are receiving. And if the second opinion is that your case is being handled well, then the reassurance will be worth the consultation fee for that second opinion.”

4. Ask your lawyer to meet with your ex’s lawyer at the very beginning.

“A better practice is for lawyers to begin constructive communications right away. The vast majority of cases will settle, so begin the negotiation process now. Sometimes it is as simple as working together to lay out the rules of the road for the divorce process. Other times it is to solve little pesky problems that might blow up into big issues later. Sometimes the best thing your lawyer can do for you is to meet the other lawyer at the coffee house to explore win-win resolutions.”

5. Devote the time required to the divorce process. 

“Going through a divorce is like having a second job. You are going to spend an enormous amount of energy gathering documents, meeting with professionals, figuring out your finances and separating your stuff. You are going to have to work to make sure that your kids are okay, and that their transition to a totally different life is as smooth as possible. If you understand this from the beginning and find a way to devote the time and energy to your divorce that it requires, your divorce will go more smoothly than if you resent everything about your divorce and drag your heels doing what you need to do to put your divorce behind you.”

6. If you plan on filing a motion with the court asking for relief, wait until you have multiple things to address before doing so.divorce

“Judges get annoyed by parties who file a motion every other week for every little thing. You can ask for relief for more than one thing in a motion, so wait until you have a few items to address and then file. Also, don’t ask for 50 different things; focus on the major disputes so the court does the same.”

7. Know that the reasons for your divorce will likely have no impact on child custody proceedings.

“Custody in divorce is the most expensive to litigate and whether your partner cheated on you or gambled away your savings will probably have no impact on his or her ability to parent your kids.”

8. Pay attention to how you time your offer.

“Cases do not settle until both parties are ready to let go of the marriage. Therefore, the timing of your offer may be as important as the content. Do not make an offer too early to a party not ready to receive it. You will end up betting against yourself in the end.”

Try to simplify your divorce rather than make it a complicated divorce.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/8-ways-to-simplify-your-divorce-according-to-attorneys_us_574dc3c7e4b0757eaeb0b756