Divide and Conquer: Dividing Your Property During Divorce

The divorce attorneys at Protokowicz and Rodier discuss several approaches that a divorcing couple can take to equally divide their possessions.

For many divorcing couples, dividing property and belongings can be one of the most trying parts of the divorce process. At times, spouses are able to sit down together and decide who receives which items in a fair manner. When this is not the case, due to a dispute, inability to compromise or complex issues regarding ownership/value of property, the individuals involved should seek guidance from a divorce attorney.

Hiring an attorney can help minimize courtroom clashes while also presenting an accurate case to a judge, who may ultimately make the final decision in dividing the marital estate. Items that are commonly divided among divorcing spouses include furniture, pets, sports gear, collectibles, cars, homes, sentimental items, etc. Consider the following tips to help ensure that your experience runs smoothly and remains fair.

List all belongings. Collaborate in making a list that includes all of the items you and your spouse own jointly, or were brought into the marriage as a marital asset. It is very important to remain honest during this process. Give your spouse the information regarding all of your property, especially anything of value, which you have collected during the course of your marriage. Assets will eventually surface, so it’s best to be truthful in the beginning to avoid unnecessary arguments.

Establish a value of the property. For your home, choose an experienced realtor who is acquainted with your area. For antiques, hire a professional appraiser. Additionally, look into having an actuary value pensions and an accountant help value any investments. When you’re ready to take a look at the mortgage or other debt associated with any item, be sure to subtract the amount of the debt from the value of the item as to accurately portray its worth. If you know when to hire professionals, you can rest assured that these items will be handled appropriately.

Choose a rational owner. Go through your master list of items and decide if each piece of property should go to either you or your spouse. It’s a good practice to start with the largest items and work your way down. If equal split of values is important to you both, keep a tally of the amounts throughout.

Take it to the court. If you and your spouse have agreed on dividing the property you own together, the court will likely approve whatever agreement you’ve reached. However, when a party does not have an attorney, and the splitting of property is uneven or seemingly unfair, a judge may be more skeptical and pursue additional questioning to help ensure that no one party is taking advantage of another.

Although the division of property seems demanding and difficult, coming to a successful agreement on belongings can be a done in a cooperative manner; thus, allowing you to focus on other important items during the divorce. Consulting with a divorce attorney and considering these steps for dividing property will give you the best chance of achieving your desired outcomes.

For more information about dividing property during a divorce, or your individual family law circumstances, contact the divorce attorneys at Protokowicz and Rodier today.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide about the subject matter. A licensed Maryland attorney should be sought about your specific circumstances.