“Once you do embark upon the separation or divorce process, it is very important to remember three key things: Be kind, be reasonable, be brief. Remember that this person will no longer be your spouse, but he or she will continue to be your co-parent, family member, and perhaps business partner in certain assets or entities.” – Laura Wasser
There is no doubt that divorce is one of the most stressful events in anybody’s life. It gets even worse when the accumulated assets during their time together needs to be divided. Such situations can turn the most amicable separation into an all-out war. Couples can find themselves fighting tooth and nail to get the right of ownership for assets.
In most cases, a couple will decide on how to split up property assets and on that agreement they can get a court approval or a ‘consent order’. However, if the couple is not able to reach a common ground, things can get messy in court.
Normally, the court looks at dividing the property equally between the separating couple. The judge makes his decision on the basis of how long the couple have been married, age, savings, ability to earn, living expenses, standard of living, and role in the marriage; for example, if one of the partners was the primary breadwinner.
Who gets to stay in the family home?
If children are involved, then the parent who spends most time with the kids usually remains in the family home. However, if there are no children and the property is individually owned, then that person has the legal right to ask the other person to leave.
However, if the property is jointly owned, then things can be worked out to a mutual agreement where one side stays in the home and the other side can find somewhere else to live while the property can be sold. Proceeds can then be split between the couple.
In the case of rental homes, it is the landlord who ultimately decides whether or not one of the partners can stay in the property. This will normally be the person who can afford to pay the rental costs.
How do you divide other assets?
In order to ensure that the divorce goes smoothly, the couple should make a list of all assets that they own and secure all documents proving they have ownership. You can then add a column to list the estimated value along with the ownership status i.e. whether it is individually owned or shared. This can help in dividing the material assets fairly.
No two divorces are same and the split depends on how cordial your relationship is at that given point of time. However, being pragmatic and getting solid legal advice can help keep issues at a minimum.
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