Divorce can be an emotionally trying endeavor, but it’s also one that can have a tremendous financial impact on your life in both the short term and the long term. That’s why you must do everything you can to try to position yourself for post-divorce financial success. While this might certainly include seeking child support and alimony, you’ll probably want to start with ensuring that you obtain your fair share of the marital assets.
Preparing for the property division process
Under New York law, marital property is supposed to be divided in a fair fashion, which doesn’t always mean that those assets are divided equally. This leaves room for argument on how best to divide those assets. To better ensure that you’re getting a fair portion of your marital estate, you may want to consider doing each of the following:
- Obtain financial records: Financial records, such as bank statements and statements from retirement accounts and pension funds, can help you identify which assets are in play. This might be an easy step for some, but if you’re in a relationship with a controlling spouse, then this can be a little more difficult. But do your best to figure out which banks have accounts and go from there. You may need your attorney to help subpoena those records if you continue to face difficulties obtaining them.
- Have the family business valuated: A family business can be worth a lot, even if the business appears to be struggling. But there can be a lot of disagreement over what the business is actually worth. So, start looking at ways that you can have the business valuated, and ensure that you have a realistic picture of the business’s income and debts. Don’t let your spouse get away with massaging the numbers to his or her advantage.
- Look for hidden assets: It may seem like something that doesn’t happen very often, but the truth of the matter is that spouses hide assets pretty regularly. They do so in hopes of removing those assets from the property division process so that they can keep them and enjoy them post-divorce. This is unfair, which is why you need to make sure that you’re diligent in assessing the marital estate so that you can loop in all assets that should be included in the property division process.
- Consider your sacrifices: Giving up a career or education to help raise a family can be a powerful argument when you seek spousal support, but it can also help you when engaging in property division. Think about what you’ve given up for your spouse and your family and how the property division process can help put you on the firm financial footing that you deserve.
- Think about separate property: Only marital assets will be included in the property division process. This means that any separately owned property will remain with its owner. But figuring out what is separate and what is marital can be tricky, especially if some assets seem to have been co-mingled.
Don’t get tripped up by your property division process
There’s certainly a lot to take into consideration when you’re dealing with the property division process. So much, in fact, that it can quickly become overwhelming. But you can successfully navigate your divorce in a way that leaves you with the financial resources that you need and deserve. To ensure you have the best possible chance of obtaining that outcome, though, you might want to work closely with a family law attorney who will zealously advocate on your behalf.