If you’re currently going through a divorce, you probably already know that there is likely a lot of bickering about finances involved. While decisions on child support and spousal maintenance must be made, assets must also be categorized as marital and non-marital, and then later divided among the involved parties.
While divorcing couples find themselves discussing on how to split the marital home, the cars, the furniture and the television sets, there are several other assets that people tend to forget about. Here are some of the assets most commonly overlooked in a divorce:
Retirement plans and savings
It is important to look into the status of old employer-funded retirement plans or programs that you and your spouse may have forgotten about, as well as a 401(k) plan or some other similar account that was opened a while back. Depending on when these accounts were funded, the money in such accounts may be deemed as part of the marital estate.
Whether both you and your spouse enjoyed golf or there was only one golfer in the family, country club and golf club memberships are not something you should take lightly. Clubs often require hefty membership fees and annual dues, and so this may be one asset you can divide.
Photographs are literally invaluable and irreplaceable. Though the digital age has made it possible for both spouses to keep copies of recent family photos, many people still hold on to the older negatives and photographs. As such, it may be best for both spouses to agree to split the cost of having these photographs copied.
Did you purchase a lottery ticket and win the lottery during the marriage? If so, the winnings are considered marital property and should therefore be divided equitably.
Receivables payable to either spouse
All receivables are subject to division in a divorce, regardless of which spouse they are payable to. If your spouse loaned a substantial amount to a relative or co-worker, for instance, then the same amount is to be divided once it is paid back.
Intellectual property rights
Do you have any registered trademarks, copyrights, patents, and royalty rights? All intellectual property rights should be properly addressed in the divorce settlement agreement, regardless of how much income these may have generated during the marriage.
In most instances, pets are treated as property and not family members. They are often assigned to the spouse who has historically cared for the pet, or the spouse with a more flexible schedule. If you’d like to have custody of your pet, be sure to let your attorney know to make it a priority.
Depending on the time of year your divorce settlement negotiations take place, it can be rather easy to overlook a past or pending tax refund. Be sure to examine your financial documents to see if there are refunds due that you should divide.
Frequent flyer points are another asset commonly overlooked in a divorce. In order to split air miles or frequent flyer points, you may have to request that tickets be issued in the name of the other spouse, or place a value on the travel benefits and compensate the other spouse accordingly.
Timeshares for resorts are typically worth less than the amount owed on it. As such, the couple must decide whether to continue to own it jointly, have one spouse accept it at a lower value, or allow it to go into foreclosure.
When it comes to the division of assets in a divorce, remember that it’s not just the obvious assets that matter. Work with an experienced lawyer who can ensure your best interests are protected and that you obtain what you are rightfully due in your divorce.