If you and your spouse are preparing for your divorce, you may be having a difficult time focusing on the practical aspects of your breakup. Whether your divorce is amicable or contentious, you may be struggling to think about your future. Nevertheless, many of the decisions you make now could affect your future for years, so you want to be prudent and thoughtful, especially during property division.
Many Georgia spouses find it possible to work out an equitable agreement for dividing their belongings, but it is not as easy as dealing a hand of cards. For some assets, there are numerous factors to consider beyond the face value of the item.
Your home, vehicle and belongings
Dividing a home is no easy feat. Not only must you obtain a fair appraisal of its value, but you will also need to consider the balance on the mortgage, property taxes, the cost of maintenance and upkeep, and utility expenses. All of these aspects must figure into your decision about how to fairly split the asset using one of these options:
- If you have equity in the home, you may decide to sell it and split the proceeds.
- If you have no equity, you may end up taking a loss on the sale of the house and haggling over who will pay off the rest of the mortgage.
- You may opt for a short sale on the house, which takes considerably longer and leaves you with no liability or asset, but may damage your credit.
- If you or your spouse have the financing, one may wish to buy out the other’s interest in the home and keep it.
- One of you may qualify for a mortgage if he or she wishes to refinance the home and keep it.
With a vehicle, you have similar options, including one of you paying the other spouse half the value of the vehicle and keeping it, or selling it outright and splitting the profit. You may also find you have sufficient assets to trade and bargain.
For household items and other valuables, you may find it easy to divide based on your personal interests. It is important to have a current appraisal of items of value, such as artwork or collectible furniture, so you obtain your fair share.
When it comes to your 401(k), IRA and other investment accounts, each has its own legal protections. For example, you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to divide your 401(k), and your IRA has tax implications if you do not transfer the funds properly. In fact, for all your assets, you would do well to have an experienced attorney assist you in reaching a fair division. This could prevent you from struggling for years after your divorce.