Protecting Your Assets Before A Diviorce

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As you and your spouse determine that a divorce is the only way to settle your conflict, you should immediately begin compiling documentation. A divorce is a very emotional time for a family, but for you to have equal division of assets, there should be no time wasted in gathering asset information. However, there will be a difference between marital and non-marital assets.

Marital assets are shared properties between you and your spouse. These assets were acquired during your marriage and have equal ownership between you and your spouse. Non-marital properties on the other hand are assets that may have been acquired prior to your marriage. An example of a non-marital asset would be a car purchased before the marriage, prenuptial exclusions, gifts prior to marriage, inheritance, or other personal injury proceeds. In most cases, these non-marital assets will not be divided up during a divorce. In certain circumstances, if a spouse owned property prior to the marriage, then during marriage both spouses made improvements on the property, it could then turn into a marital asset. Although every situation is different, most of the time marital and non-marital property will be in a separate category.

Begin by establishing a list of all your families assets or "marital property". Document all the assets by making a list of the most expensive to the least expensive. Be sure to include 401k statements, income stubs, mortgage documents, car notes, debts, etc. It is also a great idea to video tape all your tangible property that may be in the house. Start by videotaping the cars, boats and other more expensive items to the lesser valuable items. Remember, documenting everything will allow the divorce proceedings to have the least amount of disagreements.

Copying all documents and computer records will be ideal. Know that your spouse and you aren't together anymore, you will never know what she will try to hide or take away from you. Keep all copied records and documents in a safe place. A safe place is not in your home! Keep all copied financial documentation with a trusted friend, family member or your divorce attorney. Any assistance you can give to your lawyer during the discovery process will help and have the separation of assets go fairly quickly.

As long as you save any and all information containing any financial records during your marriage, your assets should be divided equally. If you end up missing an item after the divorce, chances are it will cost you more in court fees to get that item back. Make sure your list of assets and financial records is complete. Do no keep your divorce documents inside your home, as if your spouse finds it there will be no telling if it has been tampered with. Organize all your information so your divorce attorney will be able to provide the courts with all current up to date information. Protect yourself and your assets during a divorce so you will be able to come out of the divorce as stable as possible.

Article written by Patrick OShea, intended for use by Ohio lawyers in Cleveland Divorce Attorney and Columbus Divorce Lawyers

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