Divorce is difficult enough without the legal issues and ramifications presented by the division of assets. But add in the desire of both parties to come out of the marriage with as much as possible, and the stress of the process increases tenfold. The website of law firm Holmes, Diggs & Sadler stresses that, in the breakup of a large marital estate, both sides actively pursue the equitable division of capital holdings that can often go unnoticed and create problems further down the road.
Large marital estates are characterized by various sources of income, wealth, and capital. The status of many of these holdings, in terms of which spouse is the primary owner, is unclear. On top of that, the valuation of many of these assets is difficult to determine, as well, and can make equitable division a source of contention.
- Real estate
- Relatively speaking, this one is the easiest to value and divide. Depending on when specific real estate purchases were made–whether they were owned by one spouse before the marriage or if they were purchased jointly after the fact–a spouse can make a case for singular ownership. However, in the case of real estate purchased during the union, the court will attempt to equitably split property between the two parties. Therefore, if one person acquires a house, the other can claim property (or multiple pieces of property) up to the value of the house or can take a check for half the value of the house.
- The division of business assets is especially complicated due to stipulations concerning interest, investment, and growth. The valuation of a business is also very difficult due to constant fluctuations of the market.
- Before being divided, attorneys must determine whether stocks owned by either or both parties are separate or marital. Depending on whether or not the stocks were granted for services rendered during the marriage, the stock value may be subject to distribution among both parties. However, even this can be difficult to determine.
- Retirement accounts
- A qualified domestic relations order, which splits a retirement or pension plan, recognizes the protection of dependents in an individual’s plan. Retirement accounts are often times the most valuable single asset owned by an individual. The division of such an important asset requires a great deal of care, knowledge, and review.