One of the big issues in divorce is the division of marital assets, or those assets that have been acquired during the marriage. When a marriage comes to an end, both parties should be made fully aware of all marital assets so that they can be properly identified, valued, and divided. Common marital assets may include: a home, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, retirement and pensions, IRA, time shares, vacation homes, business ventures, boats, motorcycles, and personal property.
Knowing what qualifies as a marital asset before you decide to divorce is often less complicated than trying to figure it out once divorce proceedings are underway. While you are still together, there are several self-help ways to obtain information about your assets.
Go through the files and make copies of important paperwork, including:
- tax returns,
- bank statements,
- check registers,
- investment statements,
- retirement account statements,
- articles of incorporation,
- stock certificates,
- employee benefits handbooks,
- life insurance policies,
- mortgage documents,
- financial statements,
- credit card statements,
- Social Security statements,
- car titles, and
- property deeds.
These items should help you identify what marital assets exist.
Inventory Household and Family Possessions
List the major items: furniture, artwork, jewelry, appliances, automobiles, etc. Don’t forget to check the storage areas of your home and your safe deposit box for valuables.
Know Exactly What Your Spouse Earns
If your spouse earns a regular salary, it is easy to look at a pay stub. If your spouse is self-employed or owns a business, it is important to gather and copy as much information as possible about the finances of the business.
Once a lawsuit for divorce has been filed, there is a formal method of acquiring information. Discovery can take the form of interrogatories, requests for production of documents, requests for admissions, and depositions.
- Interrogatories are written questions directed to the other party that must be answered in writing under oath.
- A request for production of documents is a written list of documents requested that must be produced.
- A deposition is the opportunity to put the party under oath and ask questions with the questions and answers recorded and reduced to a written transcript.
- A request for admissions is a request to admit undisputed facts to dispense with the need to offer evidence of the fact.
- There is also the power to issue subpoenas to various financial institutions for records.
There are several ways to familiarize yourself with your marital assets, but it’s best to do so before a divorce begins. If you are unable to locate assets yourself, an experienced family law attorney on your team, like Linda Sorg Ostovitz can help. Contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (301) 575-0381.
If you are considering divorce and need the assistance of an experienced lawyer to help you work through some of these issues, then please contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz at email@example.com or 301-575-0381.
ABOUT LINDA SORG OSTOVITZ
Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 36 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings.
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