When you realize that divorce is in your future, it’s time to turn your attention to details such as property division. Doing so means gaining a clear understanding of the differences between marital and separate property.
As the name suggests, marital property is anything that you own jointly with your spouse. This includes but is not limited to your family home, motor vehicles, art, antiques, bank accounts and retirement accounts.
Will you face a marital property dispute?
There’s no way of knowing what will happen during your divorce, but there are steps you can take to help protect against a marital property dispute. Here are some tips:
- Know what is and isn’t marital property: This starts with the creation of a property division checklist. With this, you lay out all your assets, both marital and separate.
- Be sure that your spouse isn’t trying to hide an asset: The other individual may attempt to hide an asset so that they can keep it. If you suspect this, bring it to the attention of your legal team as soon as possible.
- Keep records: You don’t want your soon-to-be ex-spouse to argue that a marital asset is actually theirs and theirs alone. Protect against this by keeping good records. For example, if you jointly own expensive artwork, collect receipts that show that your purchases were made from joint funds.
Be open to negotiation and compromise
Should you find yourself face-to-face with a marital property dispute, it’s time to take a step back to better understand your options.
For example, if you’re going through mediation, it’s critical to negotiate and compromise. This doesn’t mean you should give in for the sake of getting through the process. But it’s important to realize that some level of give and take is critical to making things work.
There’s no surefire way to protect against a marital property dispute, so the best thing you can do is prepare for anything that has the potential to get in your way. When you do this, you’ll feel confident in your ability to protect your legal rights.