My 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?
As 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.
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.