Law Offices of Barry I. Finkel, P.A.
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Take inventory of assets, debts when it's time to divorce

When you decide to divorce, there is much to consider. Anything related to the children is at the top of the list, but a huge part of your divorce settlement will concern how to divide your marital property.

In states such as Florida, judges try their best to come up with an equitable division of assets in a divorce. When we marry, we tend to acquire things as "ours" instead of "mine" and "yours." Our bank accounts are merged, and both of our salaries go toward paying our bills and acquiring things such as homes and cars. While married couples put their assets together easily, untangling them isn't as easy.

If you intend to divorce, remember that the division of property doesn't just split your assets; it also splits your debts. You must consider your mortgage balance, joint credit card accounts and other bills when you think about your marital finances.

Start making a list of those debts as well as your assets to share with your divorce attorney. Having that list will help your attorney see the big picture of your family financial situation -- which can help you get better advice.

Your list should include things such as:

  • Your home
  • Your vacation home
  • Any rental or business property, and land
  • Personal property, such as home furnishings, d├ęcor, artwork, antiques, furs, china and crystal, coin and stamp collections, collectibles and jewelry
  • Your motorized vehicles, including cars, recreational vehicles, boats and campers
  • Your financial assets, such as the money in your bank accounts, college funds, retirement funds, pensions and mutual funds, as well as your life insurance's cash value
  • Assets from a business or professional practice you or your spouse own
  • Your credit card debts
  • The mortgage statement
  • Any loans that you are paying

As you can see, the list is vast and includes things you aren't likely to remember to bring into the property discussion without consideration. Before meeting with a divorce attorney, walk around your house when you have some time to yourself and inventory your possessions. It will pay to be prepared in the long run.

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