For most couples, divorce is initially not an option. However, according to the United States Census Bureau, 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. When this happens, there are always questions as to who is entitled to what regarding the couple’s assets. While people’s thoughts turn to their homes, cars, bank accounts and other items, there are lesser-known assets that should also be taken into consideration.
Many couples, especially those who have been married many years, often have investment portfolios worth perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. According to Forbes magazine, these accounts must be inventoried and evaluated by independent parties to determine their worth. However, this can be complicated because the current dollar value of these assets may not necessarily be the best determining factor in establishing their worth.
Collections and Memorabilia
If one spouse has collected comic books, baseball cards, coins or stamps these are potentially valuable items as part of a divorce settlement. Most of these items are usually noted in a homeowner’s insurance policy, but even if they’re not are considered joint property. According to Forbes, an independent expert is often called in to assess the value of the collection, with the results being either one spouse keeps the assets or they are sold, with the profits being equally divided between the two parties.
Country Club Memberships
Even if only one spouse used the membership for golfing, tennis, business dinners or other activities there are still decisions to make about this asset. Because these clubs require substantial initiation fees and annual dues, it becomes an asset that needs to be taken into consideration during a divorce settlement. Often, one spouse will essentially buy out the other’s portion of the membership, enabling both parties to gain some form of compensation.
Loans Made to Family Members or Others
While rarely thought of during a divorce settlement, outstanding loans can be included if one spouse insists upon it. For example, if the wife loaned her brother $5,000 during the marriage, any money paid back by the brother falls under family law and is subject to being divided in divorce court. Because the loan was made during the marriage, the money was allowed to be paid back to either spouse, making it open to division.
By taking the time to think about all assets accumulated during a marriage, the divorce settlement can turn out to be very profitable for one of if not both spouses.
Information Credit to Donald B. Phelps Corporation, A Vancouver Family Lawyer.