Don’t Overlook Important Assets In Your Divorce

QuestionMy husband and I have drawn up a list of what we own and we have tentatively agreed on how to split everything. I’m afraid we might have missed listing something. Can you help?

AnswerAs a financial divorce consultant, I often review final property settlements to determine additional tax and financial considerations that should be addressed. Here are some areas that are often overlooked.

  • Frequent flyer points
    AirplaneTo split these, have free tickets issued in the other spouse’s name, or value the travel benefits and compensate the other spouse.
  • Vacation pay
    Value accumulated vacation hours based on the spouse’s pay rate. Sick pay for which the employee will be compensated now or later may also be valued.
  • Tax refunds
    If you file a joint tax return, tax refunds will be sent in both names. Your divorce agreement should split.
  • Stock options
    StockIf your spouse has the right to purchase the employer’s stock at a bargain price sometime in the future, he can keep the option and give the non-employee spouse an offsetting asset, or they can agree to exercise the option jointly in the future.
  • Prepaid insurance
    All insurance is paid for in advance, including life, disability and casualty. These prepayments should be considered when property is being valued and divided.
  • Magazine subscriptions and professional dues
    Discounts are offered for two and three-year memberships and subscriptions, and a spouse preparing for divorce may make substantial prepayments from community funds to avoid future expenditures from his separate funds.
  • Timeshares
    A resort timeshare is often worth less than the amount still owed on it. In that case, the divorcing couple must decide whether one of them will accept it at a lesser value, continue to own it jointly, sell it or let it go into foreclosure.

Comments

  1. I think my husband is planning to divorce me and as of right now show no money in the bank at all. This isn’t right. i had to go to the pawn shop two days ago and pawn some gold chains I had but noticed my diamonds earrings gone. He won’t let me see his pay checks and a couple months ago came home telling me he was fired, but then he said he and his boss worked out agreement and he was staying there a few more months. That his boss just wanted to do some of the things my husband was doing but it seems to me my husband is doing the exact same job. I know my husband can come and go as he pleases with his job. He goes to work an hour early he says to keep himself caught up because he says it’s a demanding job. My husbands been in same line of work (auto sales) 40 years. I am starting to think otherwise. We refinanced our house and it’s just showing him as borrower on house loan but us as husband and wife. CURRENTLY I’M A HOUSEWIFE. I have been one over ten years. What’s going on do you think? I have no friends to talk to about this. I prefer professional advice. Can you forward my comment to someone who can help me? I would appreciate that very much. thank you

    • I don’t know what’s going on. That would be a good question to ask your spouse, preferably in a setting with a counselor who is trained to help open a constructive dialogue between the two of you. We don’t have sources for referrals, but perhaps you can get a referral from someone that you trust.

    • A valuable tool to use to uncover assets and income is to look at your previous 5 year tax returns. Your accountant should be able to provide these to you if your spouse is unwilling. This will show both earned income and investment income. I would also get copies of statements from your bank. Hopefully the account(s) are in both of your names, if not, then you will have to subpoena the bank for copies during the divorce proceedings.

      In regards to the jewelry, you need to lock up whatever is left or put it in a safe deposit box that is solely in your name. There isn’t much recourse in retrieving what has been taken unfortunately since jewelry or any hard assets for that matter are not titled property aned possession is 9/10ths of the law.

      I hope you found this helpful and good luck.

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