Here are Six Important Assets You Can’t Afford to Overlook During 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 in our divorce. 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. You may be surprised at how many assets you didn’t even think to add to your list! Here are some areas that are often overlooked but that can add real money to your pocket.

  • Frequent flyer points
    If you or your spouse (or both) are big travelers, these miles could add up to thousands of dollars in benefits. To split these, the spouse with the points can issue free tickets in the other spouse’s name, or value the travel benefits and compensate the other spouse.
  • Vacation pay
    If your company allows you to cash out your vacation and/or sick days, then that’s real money that you can split. Make sure you find out the value of your vacation and sick leave from your HR department and have your husband do the same.
  • Tax refunds
    It’s surprising how many people miss or “forget” this one! If you file a joint tax return, tax refunds will be sent in both names. If you filed separately, you and your spouse need to both present your returns and decide how to split the refunds. (Related: What Tax Filing Should You Use During Divorce?)
  • Prepaid insurance
    It’s easy to overlook insurance that has already been paid, and in some instances, a spouse might not even be aware that the other spouse has certain policies. All insurance that is paid for in advance, including life, disability and casualty are open game in divorce settlements. 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 separate funds. If your spouse has done this, you may be owed some compensation to balance out that payment.
  • Timeshares
    A resort timeshare is often worth less than the amount still owed on it. In that case, you and your spouse must decide whether one of you will accept it and the debt on it, continue to own it jointly, sell it, or let it go into foreclosure. Think carefully about whether you want to take on the financial burden of keeping the timeshare or “get it off the books,” so that you can financially and emotionally move on.

These are a few common areas that couples overlook when splitting their assets in a divorce. Your divorce attorney will be able to help you look for other assets that are more specific to your situation. You may also need to do even more digging if you suspect your husband is trying to hide assets.

To get more great advice, keep reading our divorce article archive for women and attend the next Second Saturday Divorce workshop in your area.

29 thoughts on “Here are Six Important Assets You Can’t Afford to Overlook During Your Divorce”

    1. You can ask your attorney to subpoena records from the financial institutions where he keeps the funds. You can also search the real estate records in your community for property that he may have purchased under that name. Ask the county clerk for help in doing that.

  1. I hate that my husband has been sneaking our things of value out of our house behind my back. Then he try’s to make me think I’m crazy by telling me he didn’t even know we had that blah blah blah thing. But who else would do these things?

    My husband also quit his job. Then he had a surgery and put his acting skills to good use. He said I should have divorced him when he making 15 k a month. He isn’t even trying to get disability or anything to pay our bills. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. But he isn’t really very sick at all. He hopes I’ll leave. But I moved here to get away from him. Three years ago he was making 18-20 k a month. And that’s about what he made for about ten years of his life most times 20 and a lot of times more than that but never lower than 18. His best friend actually paid another friend a surgeon to cut his chest so he could say he had a bipass surgery when his wife was out of the country just before their divorce was final.this guy saved himself 4,000 an month doing that. So naturally I’m starting to think my husbands knee surgery was fake too….. in his mind real. I guess I should hire an investigator?!?!?

  2. Victoria Naranjo

    I was married in the 70s and subsequently divorced after eight years of marriage. Since then I married and divorced a second time. I walked away from the first marriage with nothing but the clothes on my back. Your website has taught me so much, by the way, which brings me to the question- my ex works for the Manhattan transit authority and was employed there during the course of our marriage. Am I entitled to part of his pension plan when he retires? He’s still working, I live in Pennsylvania and he in NY. I was forced to retire early at 62 due to not being able to find work. If so, where do I retain an attorney, and what state do I file a qdro?
    Thank you so much for creating such a great website. Knowledge is power.


    1. If you were awarded a portion of his retirement in the divorce agreement, then you should file a QDRO with the plan administrator to pin down your claim. If your divorce agreement was silent as to the retirement plan, then you should contact an attorney familiar with the laws of that state and see if you can reopen the case for the purpose of dividing that asset.

  3. I’ve been married for 30 years & will be filing for divorce and know my husband is hiding money from me, and I suspect he has large amount hidden under my brother in laws name at the bank,is there any suggestions you can help me so he doesn’t sneak his way out of scamming me?

  4. Pingback: Dealing With Money after Divorce | Blog | Diamond Lighthouse

  5. I’m filing for divorce as soon as I can get $200.00. The truth is my financial situation is not the best, I quit working before as was 62yrs. because my son got the disease MS and his spouse left him. The lawyer is willing to take payments in installments but I’m afraid it might cost at least $700.00. one of the problems is that he says he won’t pay the mortgage and Social Security only gives me only $518.00 a month and after four son decided that he wanted to return to IN. and now lives in a nursing home. I live in Puerto Rico and laws I think aren’t the best for women. A few months ago I tried finding a part time job, but no go there is a lot of discrimination because of the age factor. I also had bladder surgery and can’t do any heavy lifting. I would like to know if there is some way he would have to pay mortgage till the house can be sold and if I would have to move out of the house, all the money I had went into the house. I don’t know his finances which he always hid from me.

    1. I’m sorry, but we are not attorneys and don’t know the laws in your jurisdiction so we can’t answer your questions about what the law would require him to do. It is likely that if he says he doesn’t have the money for the mortgage, the judge would order the house to be sold and the delinquent payments to come out of the proceeds from the sale.

  6. My husband has decide for us to have a separated checking account after 17 years of marriage. I find it very odd and we have been in a turbulence marriage. We live in the state of CA. I’m wondering if we get divorce, I’m still entitled of that separate checking account of his?

  7. Hello me and my husband has been married for 8 and a half years, we just purchased a home together over a month ago but; my name is not on the mortgage. I would like a divorce should I get a lawyer and ask for my name to be placed on the deed? Is this even possible?
    thanks for your response in advance
    La Tonya

    1. Ask an attorney familiar with the laws in your state what impact not having your name on the mortgage has and what should be done. Generally it matters whose name is on title, rather than whose name is on the mortgage.

  8. My ex to be and I have been married for 14 years. We were only married for a year before he retired from the auto industry. Am I entitled to receive any of his retirement pension? I’ve heard I am entitled to a portion, by some, then told I’m only entitled to the 1 year that we were actually married before retirement. Does anyone know how this works?

  9. I am currently divorcing my narcissistic husband, one of our significant issues was his not paying his taxes, we file married filing separately because of this, every year I would cave and find a way to pay them, we do not go to court for a few more months and he is going to owe several thousand dollars in federal taxes and he has falsely claimed residency in another state that doesn’t have income taxes and now the state we actually live in is coming after him for tax evasion for the past four years and several thousand dollars owed to them.. I’m concerned that he will try to make me be responsible for his taxes through the divorce settlement because some of his income went through our joint account. We were only married 4 years…….. 4 years too long, it was a complete con job! I owned my home and business before he ever came along and he is trying to take those too. He has never worked since we were married, he conned me into some investments and only put his name on them…….that is his income, meanwhile I work two jobs

  10. Your story brought tears to my eyes, and just know that Everyone does pay for what they do, even if they think they can get away with it, there is a God and vengeance is his:).. I am so happy to be divorcing my narcissistic husband too, right now, they are so good at hiding who they are. Way to go, girl! 🙂

  11. I am 55yrs old woman who finally got up the nerve to file for divorce from a Narcissistic husband who physically, emotionally and verbally abused me while having numerous extramarital affairs with women he would meet on online dating websites, I happen to find a photo on the home computer of my husband with a caption that read above his picture saying “DO YOU WANT A HUNK”, that he used as his photo on dating websites. I knew when I finally got up the nerve to divorce this man he would fight me in a nasty court battle and he did. I recently went to the doctor and after several mammograms a mass was found in my breast and I’m awaiting to see if I will have to undergo a Mastectomy. The two days I spent in divorce court were the worst two days of my life as his lawyer made a mockery of me, but most of all making a mockery of my medical condition in front of the court calling it a horse and pony show, I cried like I have never cried in my life, I just wanted to walk out of the courtroom, but I had to sit and listen to this lawyer as he made me out to be someone I’m not, one lie on top of another lie, things just went downhill from there. I left the courtroom in a state of shock, every muscle in my neck and back hurt me and now I am left waiting to hear the final outcome on the Judges decision on how our marital assets will be divided. My husband makes over 6000 a month while I try to survive on less than a 1000 a month, since I was forced into early retirement when my company downsized. In time I had to flee the family home due to domestic violence and somehow my husband has managed to hide his 401k valued over 200,000, it simply just vanished, along with money he claims his buddy gave him to take to Vegas to gamble for him? weird over 35000 on one occasion then many more large sums of money were again transferred from his buddy checking account to my husbands checking account. Even my lawyer said it appears to look like money laundering my husband and his out of state friend are involved in. I went through the process of inquiry having his financial documents subpoena but he somehow was able to explain away everything. Our home is in both our names and he even wants the house, the furniture and our timeshare. Plus he receives a substantial pension from the military and I have ask for a portion of his retirement which would help me survive as I grow older. This man has accused me of adultery when it was he who has committed the adultery, I worry in a small town courtroom if justice will be served or will I just be another woman who was kicked to the curb and left to live a life of poverty. I depend on food stamps, have gone to a Christian outreach medical centers for medical help while he dropped all of my medical insurance without telling me, even dropping my car insurance without my knowledge causing me to be fined by the State of Georgia. I feel like I’m living in some backwoods town where women have been stripped of any rights when it comes to divorce. My attorney being an officer also in the military came to my defense after hearing my story offered to represent me in court and be allowed to pay him once the divorce is settled, a great man and a good husband and his wife is also an attorney, but they are from the city of Atlanta where things are different, in a small town you might as well be back in the 1800’s women have no rights in divorce court. I just hope and pray the Judge who seems to be a fair Judge see’s through the lies and the good ole boy lawyer unethical methods used in court. I feel as if I’m on pin’s and needles as I wait to hear the outcome of my financial future, I worked all during our marriage so my income was our primary source of money coming in for many years, now as I live in a relatives basement away from all the domestic abuse from my husband, I worry what will become of me. Sadly the domestic abuse was allowed to spill over into the courtroom as my husband used the courtroom as a battery ram to try to wear me down. Once my husband was the man of my dreams many years ago, but the dream turned into a nightmare over the course of our marriage. I just want to find peace in my life and live without the fear of being abused. Women in the South still lack the support from the community. I hope to volunteer helping those who have been in an abusive relationship, letting them know domestic violence is not ok and that it can happen to women from all walks of life.

    1. I am currently going through a similar type of divorce except add in some children. I know that your post was a while back so I hope at this point you have gotten a good resolution.

    2. Your story brings tears to my eyes love?how men can be so awful and so unjust is unreal I’m sooo sorry your going they tbis. I too am facing divorce but the decision was ultimately mine.the verbal abuse is the worst! The being ignored and feeling like you are just hated and not welcome isent what I care to live out the rest of mylife. Now we are talking the money and separation of things so now he’s kind . Like wtf???? Got into you . Afraid I may fight for your SS or retirement fund? Hmmm ya the ulterior motives they have I am all to aware of..I retired from the same exact job he does back in 08 due to crohns and always sick but never filed disability or that bc im not good at that stuff as the systems not been something I lean on bc things are tight I just readjust my sails basically. I spent my retirement in the marriage for things and bills when things needed money. Now I’m completely broke and a lot of debt I can’t begin to fix I don’t own anything or have family or friends to lean on bc I won’t be a burden so I set wondering where to go or what to do. I cry to myself when I’m alone bc I’m scared as this is huge !!!!but then it was my choice too. I guess I don’t know what road to go? I’m in Texas and I don’t like the cold north but where does a person go and how do you choose??got nothing here to hold me and I can go and do whatever I want within reason although my budgets pretty sad. I am not the taking type I don’t like that but also there is my future to think about.i had a great job good pay Benny’s etc but that gone now too. I know I’m a fighter who isent afraid of much and so that’s a plus for me I just don’t know where or how to begin again that’s the hardest thing to figure out! I believe I will be happy again in time but today this really sucks . The not knowing the where and what if’s , I try putting it in God’s hand n leaving it there but I do spend slots of time mostly nights not sleeping thinking about it. I don’t know the next chapter. I only pray that my being the good kind hearted person I am god blesss me with grace thru it bc I don’t wanna fight I just want to be happy and have peace and joy . I am selling all bc I have no attachment to the things left now it’s all just a memory I want to leave behind me and a start in a new positive direction. Maybe I’m shooting myself in the foot but this is just who I am I guess, pray for me y’all cause this girl is so lost right now with no awnsers or real great plan but maybe that’s the way it’s suppose to be. Heading down the road looking in the rear view mirror putting it behind me and just moving along on a chance and a prayer
      Much love T….

  12. from the post above “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”
    can someone explain what does it mean if the husband is the only name on the loan for the house but not hers.

  13. 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

    1. 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.

    2. 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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