Your divorce can prompt major changes in your life, especially as you face the division of property process. While being a joint owner of your home and other major assets, you may exit your marriage without owning some of your major property from your marriage. With this major change in your life, it is important to prepare yourself for all types of outcomes.
When divorcing your spouse, all property purchased during your marriage may be considered community property, while property purchased before your marriage will be considered separate property. To complete your divorce, you must divide your community property between yourself and your spouse equally; however, if you have a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, assets will be divided as outlined in those documents.
The asset division process often involves contested issues where the couple may fight over specific items, such as the family home, vehicles, business, or other items important to them. Spouses may try to resolve the property division issues independently, or they may wish to pursue alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration, mediation, or litigation, for extra guidance and security. Including a third party can help the couple better understand the full picture of asset division and facilitate discussion or decision-making.
Preparing for Asset Division
When preparing for the division of your shared assets with your spouse, being proactive can be very helpful to your attorney. When you are prepared with financial information, your priorities, and even handling your emotions, it can help you manage your stress in the asset division process and prepare your attorney for the path ahead.
One of the first things you should do is compile your financial documents and receipts of ownership for your attorney’s use. Common documents that should be organized and easily accessible include:
- Homeownership deeds,
- Vehicle titles,
- Bank statements for at least the past five years,
- Tax documents for at least the past five years,
- Credit card statements,
- Student loan statements and other statements that include debt balances,
- Business documents if you or your spouse is a business owner, and
- Other important documents that outline ownership for your attorney’s use.
Having these documents in one organized area, such as in a filing system or a binder with sheet protectors, can provide easy access to these documents when determining the ownership and valuation of each asset. You may need to reference the binder if one asset’s ownership date is contested or if you believe that certain assets were misreported or hidden by your spouse.
When building your organization system, it is important to create a backup copy if you cannot find certain documents later in your divorce. You can photocopy these documents and build a second binder, or if some documents are digital, you can make a digital backup on an external drive for your security.
You should also list the assets you share with your spouse and rank them by priority. When reviewing your list of assets, you may determine that there are certain assets you may not wish to fight for, while there may be others you want to exit your marriage with in your possession. After you build this list of your top priority assets, you should share it with your attorney so they can better understand how best to advocate for your best interests in the asset division process.
As you compile your financial documents and begin to create a list of your prioritized assets, you should also prepare emotionally for this process. You may feel emotionally attached to certain assets, such as your family home, and this process can easily become emotionally overwhelming to some. If you see a therapist, you can discuss your feelings regarding the asset division process with them and develop coping strategies to help you move forward with your divorce.
Marina Del Rey Asset Division Attorney
Dividing your assets during a divorce can be an emotional process as you say goodbye to assets you shared with your spouse. Our asset division attorney at Marmolejo Law, APC is passionate about advocating for clients’ best interests and helping them reach the asset division outcome they deserve. Together, we can help you exit your marriage with the assets most important to you and a fair outcome for all.
Schedule a consultation with our divorce attorney today by calling (310) 736-2063 to learn more about how we can support you through your divorce.