Property - A House Divided
By Carol Ann Wilson
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).
It has been said that
most divorcing couples have a net worth of less than $20,000. If this is so, it
may be that couples are investing in their careers and earning capabilities
instead of their savings accounts. The majority of todays couples both work.
Many are professionals who have earned one or more degrees or have undertaken
special training. They may see their careers as being more valuable than
tangible assets. Because future income is typically of greater value than
property, the main financial issues at divorce, particularly for women and
children, are those of spousal and child support.
When looking at the property issues in divorce, couples
usually ask these four questions:
Our objective is to cover these
questions, and show how to protect what belongs to you.
- What constitutes property?
- What is it worth?
- At what date will it be valued?
- How will it be divided?
In the month of May we will be doing a four part series on
property issues in divorce. Watch your email for the first in the series, "What
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