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Divorce: how to ensure for the equitable division of property and assets

Couples who choose to divorce are often acutely aware of the problems and conflicts that preceded a divorce filing. Many, however, fail to truly understand the financial changes that are likely to occur post-divorce. While it can be difficult to plan for one's financial future while attempting to deal with emotionally charged divorce matters such as child custody, it's critical to ensuring for one’s current and future financial security.

Divorcing individuals often feel like they have little to no control over much of what happens during the divorce process. To regain a sense of control, it's important to take stock of one’s financial situation. For divorcing individuals, it's critical to understand how much it currently takes to live as well as to calculate projected living costs. Once these figures have been determined, it's also important to take steps to protect assets.

Many couples have joint checking or savings accounts. Prior to withdrawing or transferring any assets from joint accounts, an individual should consult with his or her divorce attorney. An individual should also obtain a copy of his or her credit report to ensure it's accurate. Statements detailing joint credit cards or line of credit should also be closely examined and closed to prevent liability for an ex's purchases.

Once an individual has taken steps to protect liquid assets, it's time to take stock of assets held in investment accounts, retirement accounts and property. A divorce attorney can assist in valuing these types of assets. When doing so, it's important to note that assets held in different accounts are taxed differently. The value of some assets, particularly property such as a home, is also determined by many uncontrollable outside factors.

The process of dividing property and assets during a divorce is complex and often confusing. It's imperative, therefore, to enlist the assistance of legal and financial professionals who can provide advice and ensure for an equitable division of property.

Source: Investment News, "Ways to help divorcing clients protect their assets," Rose Watson, May 8, 2014