Property includes such assets as the family home, rental property, cars, and
art or antique collections. It can also include bank accounts, mutual funds,
stocks and bonds, cash value life insurance, IRAs, and retirement plans. And
yes, career assets and PHTs or PWTs (putting husband/wife through school). As
you can see, there is virtually no limit to what can be considered property.
What do you think about when you think of property? Your joint savings account? The house you jointly own or that may be in your spouse's name, yet you have paid for half of it? You may think you already know all about property. But do your views meet the legal tests of what property is?
Although each couple is different, there are some averages when it comes to property. Most divorcing couples have household furnishings (89 percent), cars (71 percent), and some savings in the form of money in bank accounts, stocks, or bonds (61 percent). Almost half (46 percent) of the couples own or are buying a family home, which is likely to be a couple's most valuable asset. Only a small proportion of divorcing couples have a pension (24 percent), a business (11 percent), or other real estate (11 percent). (Click here to continue)
Dividing property almost always takes some finesse. It’s not as simple as taking the total value of marital assets and just divvying them up. Emotions, perceived value, even not wanting a spouse to have something because, well - just because - it all plays a part. (Click here to continue)
Let’s look at an example. Beth and her husband are getting a divorce. When Beth got married, she had $1,000 in a savings account. During the marriage, her $1,000 earned $100 in interest. Her account in now worth $1,100. She did not add her husband’s name to the account when they married.
Her property is $1,100, because she kept it in her name only. In some states, the $100 in interest goes into the pot of marital assets to be divided because that is the increase in value of her separate property. If Beth had put her husband’s name on the account, she would have turned the entire account into a marital asset. She would have made a gift to the marriage. (Click here to continue)
Susan and Michael Johnson thought their divorce would be different.
When they decided to split after 15 years of marriage, the couple was determined to keep things amicable and to avoid the horror stories they’d heard so often from friends and relatives. Above all, they were committed to making sure their son David, 11, would be well cared for.
Working with their attorneys, the Johnsons reached a financial settlement each felt was fair. Michael had been the primary wage earner, bringing home $65,000 a year. He also had an $85,000 pension that he wanted to keep. Susan wanted to keep their house so that she and David would not have to be uprooted. Since the equity in the house was about $100,000 - $15,000 more than the value of Michael’s pension - they decided that the fair thing would be for Michael to get $21,000 of their savings, with Susan keeping the remaining $6,000. This would balance the differences in value between the pension and the house. (Click here to continue)
Buried treasures seem to be found in everyone's home, you just need to know
where to look. Here's a list of items that may seem like junk to you, but could
be very valuable. Antiques (furniture, carpets, fountain pens, banknotes, dolls,
hat pins, stock certificates, toys, cookie cutters, kitchenware, china, glassware,
games, currency, linens, and quilts)
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