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Dividing marital property in a divorce requires a cool head

According to a recent article, January is known as Divorce Month. The association has to do with making a fresh start in the New Year, but several commentators suggest that waiting until after the holidays are over may also facilitate a cleaner division of finances and assets, as well.

Divorce can be expensive, so it can pay to wait until emotions have cooled and divorce negotiations can be approached with a cool head. The bottom line is that it can really pay to agree to a fair divorce settlement, instead of litigating or fighting every issue. 

That being said, a divorce settlement also shouldn’t be approached too quickly. According to one estimate, up to two-thirds of American marriages involve one spouse who is hiding some money or assets. The deception may take various forms, such as a hidden bank account or misleading representations about one's salary. 

Our law firm focuses on divorce, and we have a network of professionals that can assist in a forensic accounting of the marital estate. That inventory will include not only current assets, but also future interests from stock options, pensions or business interests. Even income earned before a divorce but not yet paid should be included in the tally.

We also have the experience to provide context to any divorce settlement offers. For example, a house and a traditional individual retirement account may be valued the same, but the impact down the road may be different when a taxable event is triggered. Specifically, a divorcing couple should understand the tax implications of selling the house, versus receiving distributions from the taxable IRA account.

Source: CNBC, “Breaking up is hard to do: Protecting assets in divorce,” Kelli B. Grant, Jan. 17, 2016

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