Some couples simply grow apart while others break apart. Whether your divorce was a long time brewing or came about because of some sudden realization, you are facing the enormous and stressful task of separating your marital assets. If you were fortunate enough in your marriage to have accumulated substantial wealth, the thought of dividing that wealth may cause concern.
As with any divorce, the division of assets will follow the law of your state. In North Carolina, as in most states, the court divides marital property equitably, meaning it will determine the fairest way for you and your spouse to separate your assets. You may have questions about which assets the court considers part of the marital estate and which ones fall under the definition of separate property. These issues can easily become contentious.
Assets you may not know you have
You and your spouse may be able to negotiate a fair division of assets through mediation, or you may leave it for the court to decide. In either case, in order to be sure you are receiving a fair portion of the marital estate, you will want to have a good understanding of the value of your assets. While some assets may be easier to valuate, others may be less obvious. Some ways you can ensure that as many assets as possible are on the table include:
- Evaluating any contingencies that distributing or transferring ownership of your stocks may involve
- Seeking advice about the division of your complex portfolio
- Assessing the accumulated value of any life insurance policies
- Analyzing the cost of maintaining your present lifestyle
This final point may require forensic accounting to determine how you and your spouse spent your money. While many North Carolina couples desire to continue their current lifestyle after their divorce, they may not realize that doing so requires a thorough understanding of how you and your spouse spent the family money, especially if one spouse earns considerably more than the other does.
Dividing assets can be a delicate operation and may include such sensitive topics as spousal support. The goal of a successful divorce settlement is allowing you and your spouse to continue in financial security after the divorce by executing a fair and equitable separation of your estate. Mistakes in calculating the value of property or neglecting to include important assets can result in an imbalance that places one spouse at a financial disadvantage.