Marriage and divorce are as much about economics as they are matters of the heart. In fact, a lot of attorneys encourage their clients to try to put their emotions on hold during a divorce and concentrate purely on the financial decisions that need to be made — because the repercussions of a bad decision during a divorce can last for decades.
When you’re thinking about marital assets that need to be divided, it’s important not to overlook the following things:
You may not have the slightest desire for your spouse’s coin collection or bottles of vintage wines — but if those things were acquired during the marriage, you have a right to consider them marital assets. You may not actually want the items, but their value should be determined and added to the total household assets. That way, when it comes time to divide the total, you get your fair share. If your spouse wants to keep the whole collection, you can take the value of what you’re entitled to out of something else (like cash).
Other people’s debts
Did your spouse loan money to someone? For example, if your wife loaned her son from her first marriage $50,000 to start a business, you’re probably entitled to a share of any repayment. That can add up if you’ve been generous with children, siblings and friends.
Don’t overlook any inventions, patents, royalty rights and copyrights — even if they haven’t produced any income so far. Intellectual property can hang out for a long time doing nothing before it suddenly becomes a hot-ticket item. You want to make sure that your divorce addresses your right to whatever dividends or income those things actually produce in the future so that you aren’t left out in the cold if something takes off.
Golf clubs, country clubs and luxury resort clubs can cost tens of thousands of dollars yearly. That’s a valuable item that shouldn’t be overlooked when tallying up the marital assets — even if you don’t have the slightest interest in that particular item personally. Just like collectible items, you can trade the value of your share for something else your spouse doesn’t want.
It’s important to think about every aspect of your financial life when you’re dividing marital property — otherwise, items like these can easily be overlooked.