For even an amicable divorce, the process of ending a marriage can be stressful for both parties. Dividing one household into two brings with it significant emotional and financial turmoil. Couples take the time to be thorough and move through the process in a careful, thoughtful manner as they are working through asset and debt division. But what might they forget?
While every divorce is unique, there are common elements that divorcing couples often overlook when considering financial division. They can include:
- Digital assets: These types of assets live in a digital environment but shouldn’t be overlooked in divorce. Digital entertainment collections including downloaded movies, music, books or video games need to be divided. Similarly, the ownership and operation of any shared social media sites or blogs should be addressed.
- Cryptocurrencies and travel reward points: With so many purchases being made online, couples need to examine and divide customer rewards and perks. Airline miles, cash back bonuses, PayPal accounts and Bitcoin all should be divided.
- Money loaned to others: It is not uncommon for married couples to loan thousands of dollars to friends or family members. When those debts are repaid, though, often after a divorce, the money should be accounted-for.
- Collections and memorabilia: While most property division focuses on real estate and large items like a car, truck or boat, it is important to remember collections. Perhaps one spouse curated a prized book collection that was purchased using shared accounts. The value of this collection should be addressed through property division.
- Benefits or compensation packages from previous employers: While current employers take priority, it is wise to remember past employers. Retirement benefits that weren’t rolled over or severance payments, for example, will need to be addressed.
Couples are wise to make detailed lists of assets and debts that will need to be divided. In these situations, a prenuptial agreement would be helpful to organize non-marital assets. Unfortunately, not all couples draft them. Do not hesitate to seek legal guidance when preparing for divorce.