Property division during divorce can become extremely complicated, especially in high-asset divorces. Having to litigate those issues is often contentious; being able to resolve these issues through alternative dispute resolution is often less so.
There are a few things you can do that might help to reduce stress as you’re going through this facet of your divorce. Consider these three points as you embark on the property division process:
1. Know your budget
Before you look at the property that has to be divided, be sure you know what you can realistically afford on your income alone. This might be considerably less than what you could afford during the marriage. For example, while it might be a wonderful idea in theory to keep the marital home and “buy out” your spouse’s interest, can you afford to do so? Write out a budget and use that as your guide during the property division process. Also consider how much the value of the marital estate is when deciding how much you’re willing to spend to get a certain result. It may not make sense to spend more money than the difference between what you are offering and what your spouse is offering.
2. Account for taxes and other expenses
As you’re looking at the assets to divide, remember that it’s possible for taxes and other expenses to reduce the actual value of an asset. Take things like taxes, insurance, upkeep, maintenance and monthly payments into account when you’re trying to determine if it’s feasible for you to keep an asset, or if you even want that asset. In particular, pay attention to what would happen if you cash in any investments to pay for your divorce or have to divide any pension plans. It is always a good idea to speak with an accountant or tax attorney in tandem with resolving your divorce matter.
3. Try to keep emotion out of the equation
It’s easy to get attached to things that you associate with positive memories. Remember that the memories are what matter. You may make better decisions if you take the emotional pull out of the equation and focus more on whether the asset is practical for the next phase of your life.
Ultimately, you have to do what you feel is in your best interests. Working with someone who’s familiar with your situation may benefit you since they can help you to determine what property division options might be best for you.