How to divide assets and debt in divorce

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Thursday, August 31, 2017.

Ideally, Missouri residents or others who are going through a divorce will end their marriage in a civil and equitable manner. However, what one person thinks is equitable may not be what the other party to the divorce thinks is equitable. Therefore, it may be a good idea to make a list of all debts that a couple may have and all assets that a couple may have.

If a debt was incurred by one person before the marriage, he or she would ideally be responsible for paying that debt. If an asset was obtained before the marriage, its owner would ideally retain that asset in a divorce. Dividing communal assets may be trickier as their values may change over time. For instance, a house worth $100,000 may not have the same value as a retirement plan with $100,000 in it.

This is because whoever keeps the home may be responsible for paying a mortgage, paying taxes and handling maintenance costs. For some, it may be better to sell the house, split the proceeds and split the money in the retirement account instead. Of course, it is important to know if the funds can be split at all. It is also important to consider the tax implications of selling or receiving an asset.

Since a divorce may be an emotional event for an individual, it may be worthwhile to seek outside legal counsel when trying to reach a divorce settlement. In some cases, a prenuptial agreement may exist that may determine how property should be divided and whether an individual is entitled to spousal support. An attorney may review the agreement to determine if it is valid. It may also be possible to seek the help of legal counsel when creating a postnuptial agreement.

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