Approximately 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Divorce is a complex process both emotionally and legally. Division of property is a major issue in many divorces and it often results in a feud. Couples can avoid these battles if they manage their marital and personal property correctly. In the event of a divorce, property distribution will proceed much more smoothly and involve less emotional upheaval. If you really want to know how to avoid a fight over marital property, speak to an expert that can provide you with a free divorce consultation.
Fights over marital property can cost time and money, many times, more money than the property is even worth! Working with a divorce attorney that specializes in avoiding fights over marital property disputes is paramount if you want to keep your fair share of the marital assets in your divorce.
Is It Possible to Avoid a Fight Over Marital Property in Divorce?
Yes! It is possible to avoid a long drawn-out fight over marital property during your divorce, but this will require a cool, collected head and some organization and planning. Before getting married, think about having a lawyer for marital property draft a premarital or prenuptial agreement that stipulates which property is exempt from division upon divorce or death. This legal document should be detailed and encompass personal property held by each party. Upon divorce, these items will be exempt from the marital estate, allowing the initial owner to retain them. A prenuptial agreement is never going to be an easy conversation with your future spouse, and even if you are already married, it is possible to enter into a “post-nuptial” agreement, although this does not have the same level of protection that a prenuptial agreement has.
Organization of Finances to Understand your Marital Property
Maintaining complete financial records and statements during a marriage will make division of property an easier process. Use these documents to establish the separate nature of all property that either party wishes to designate as separate from their marital estate. This may include property held prior to the marriage, property received as a gift, and any personal inheritance received during the marriage.
If you wish to keep personal property as an asset or within your side of the family upon divorce or death, continue to keep this property separate during the marriage. Do not commingle it with property acquired with a spouse during a marriage. Once property is commingled, it can be difficult to separate assets that were previously held by one party. Use only nonmarital property to purchase additional nonmarital property or the new property may be considered part of the marital estate. By avoiding the commingling of marital property and nonmarital property, you can draw a distinction between whose property is whose; this is the best way to not end up in a painful fight over marital property disputes.
Any increase in the value of nonmarital property could be considered a marital asset. This means that upon the owner’s divorce or death, each spouse may be entitled to a portion. This rule holds true particularly if the appreciation in value is active, meaning it occurs through effort. Management of a stock portfolio is considered active appreciation while interest earned on a savings account is passive appreciation. Working toward an uncontested divorce can help avoid disputes over things like marital property fights but it requires advance planning and excellent organization.
An expert divorce lawyer that specializes in marital property disputes will provide additional advice on things you can do to avoid the fight over different types of marital property. In general, division of property is less contentious when nonmarital assets are kept separate from marital assets throughout a marriage. Divorce and property division may be the last things on your mind right now but considering these possibilities can prevent angst in the future.