Division of assets, particularly high-value assets, can become a battlefield when it comes to couples getting a divorce. Wives need to be especially alert to the couple’s financial picture if they are to get their fair share of community property in the divorce. If they have more assets than their husbands, then women need to make sure they keep as much of them as possible. Determining ownership of houses and splitting joint bank accounts are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to division of assets. Finances are more complicated than ever today, with some women having their own financial portfolios in addition to any that may be held jointly with their husband.
Stocks, pensions and retirement accounts, including those from past employers, and life insurance are among assets that need to be divided. Other high-value assets that can be divided include art, antiques, stamp and coin collections, expensive athletic equipment, frequent flyer miles and club memberships. Even gifts couples gave each other after their wedding are considered marital assets, though gifts given before marriage are exempt.
Wives need to be careful how they handle assets they had before marriage, such as a house; if she puts her husband’s name on the deed, it becomes a jointly held asset subject to division. Any inheritances received after marriage also become joint assets if the person who received the money puts it into a joint bank account.
Straightening out finances and other assets can be a complicated process, made more so by emotions running high during a divorce. A divorce attorney may be able to assist in untangling the assets while making sure the woman is financially protected as she begins a new future on her own.
Source: Forbes, “Divorcing Women: Don’t Forget These Marital Assets“, Jeff Landers, October 16, 2013