NEVER Settle Your Divorce Without Considering These Three Property Issues
If you are considering divorce, or are in the middle of one, your mind is likely racing with all of the things you have to consider when settling. No doubt you are knee deep in parenting plans, custody arrangements, child support negotiations, and arguing over who gets the couch in the living room. If you are focusing on the orders that deal with your children, you are probably focusing on the right thing. There is nothing more important than the well-being of your children. At the same time, it can be tempting to only focus on the children at the expense of all of the property issues. Here are three property issues you should never ignore.
In most divorces, the marital home is the largest asset the family owns. Likely you have been building equity in your home for a good portion of your marriage. It is also the place where your children are most comfortable. In my experience, many people will give away the house, or the equity in the house, in exchange for something much less valuable. Make sure to discuss with your attorney the many options available for fairly dividing the marital home, including options where the custodial parent can stay in the home for a period to allow the children to stay where they are most comfortable.
Retirement accounts are usually the next largest asset in a marriage. However, a retirement account can be even more valuable than the marital home because it will likely increase in value at a much faster rate than the marital home will. For this reason you should think twice before exchanging retirement for equity in a home. Even though splitting a retirement account will require some additional attorney fees, the growth value of a retirement account is unrivaled in a divorce. Make sure to think through your settlement of the marital retirement before signing divorce papers.
In many divorces people simply take the car that they traditionally drove during the marriage. This makes sense in a lot of cases, but sometimes this results in an unfair settlement. If the wife’s car is newer, has a higher value, and fits all the kids, but has no equity, the husband’s car that is paid off and has more equity can be better to have in a divorce simply because it is worth more. An even better solution might be for the husband to take his car and the wife take her car, but for the husband to also pay the wife her half of the equity in husband’s car. This allows the wife to keep the car that holds all of the children but has not equity, without sacrificing her share of the equity in her husband’s car.
Divorces can be complicated and negotiating all of the elements of a divorce without sacrificing more than is reasonable can be a challenge. The best thing to do is to hire an attorney who specializes in divorce and custody cases; so that they can explain all of the elements to you in a way that makes it easier to understand. A good attorney will also give you instructional materials to help you better understand everything that goes into a divorce settlement.